CCRN Pleural Effusion ReviewPerry Overton
CCRN Pleural Effusion Review
Pleural effusion, sometimes referred to as “water on the lungs,” is the build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs. The pleura are thin membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity and act to lubricate and facilitate breathing. Normally, a small amount of fluid is present in the pleura.
CCRN Pleural Effusion Review – Signs and Symptoms
- Chest pain
- Dry, nonproductive cough
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath, or difficult, labored breathing)
- Orthopnea (the inability to breathe easily unless the person is sitting up straight or standing erect)
CCRN Pleural Effusion Review – Causes
The most common causes of transudative (watery fluid) pleural effusions include:
- Heart failure
- Pulmonary embolism
- Post open heart surgery
Exudative (protein-rich fluid) pleural effusions are most commonly caused by:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Kidney disease
- Inflammatory disease
Other less common causes of pleural effusion include:
- Autoimmune disease
- Bleeding (due to chest trauma)
- Chylothorax (due to trauma)
- Rare chest and abdominal infections
- Asbestos pleural effusion (due to exposure to asbestos)
- Meig’s syndrome (due to a benign ovarian tumor)
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
CCRN Pleural Effusion Review – Treatments
- Treatment of pleural effusion is based on the underlying condition and whether the effusion is causing severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Diuretics and other heart failure medications are used to treat pleural effusion caused by congestive heart failure or other medical causes. A malignant effusion may also require treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a medication infusion within the chest.
- A pleural effusion that is causing respiratory symptoms may be drained using therapeutic thoracentesis or through a chest tube (called tube thoracostomy).
- For patients with pleural effusions that are uncontrollable or recur due to a malignancy despite drainage, a sclerosing agent (a type of drug that deliberately induces scarring) occasionally may be instilled into the pleural cavity through a tube thoracostomy to create a fibrosis (excessive fibrous tissue) of the pleura (pleural sclerosis).
- Pleural sclerosis performed with sclerosing agents (such as talc, doxycycline, and tetracycline) is 50 percent successful in preventing the recurrence of pleural effusions.
CCRN Pleural Effusion Review (2020) – Other CCRN Related Courses
We currently offer a variety of courses for the CCRN national exam. If you are looking for review questions; choose the CCRN Predictor Exam, CCRN Question Bank or CCRN Practice Questions bundle. Looking for sample questions and lectures; choose the CCRN Review, CCRN Online Review or the CCRN Review Course bundle.