LEONARD CARDON, M.D., F.A.C.P.
That massive pleural effusion or hydrothorax may precipitate severe dyspnea and air hunger and be an immediate threat to life, requiring emergency thoracentesis, is universally recognized. On the other hand, even a massive pleural effusion of the common idiopathic type, which is associated with relatively little disease of the underlying lung, is frequently well tolerated, particularly if it be unilateral, and in a young adult with a normal heart and a normal contralateral lung. Under these circumstances, as much as 2,000 to 3,000 ml. of fluid may produce relatively little discomfort—perhaps only a little dyspnea or breathlessness on mild exertion.
CARDON L. SIGNIFICANCE OF SMALL PLEURAL EFFUSIONS IN CARDIOPULMONARY DISEASE, AND SOME OTHER OBSERVATIONS ON PLEURAL FLUID IN GENERAL12. Ann Intern Med. 1960;53:765–795. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-53-4-765
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1960;53(4):765-795.
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