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Self-Assessment Questions

Pulmonary Disease

Answer 1
  1. The effusion is a new finding and its etiology is unknown. Diagnostic thoracentesis is indicated when pleural effusion is a new finding and the etiology is unknown. Observation without thoracentesis may be warranted in pleural effusions due to uncomplicated CHF, ascites, and other volume overload states. This patient’s pneumonia may be the cause of the effusion; therefore, it cannot be determined if the effusion is caused by CHF alone. It is not possible to determine the etiology of a pleural effusion based on chest radiograph alone, and therefore malignancy cannot be determined at this point.1

    1. Sahn SA. State of the art. The pleura. Am Rev Respir Dis 1988;138:84.

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