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Test Findings

Pleural Fluid Appearance



  • The appearance of pleural fluid can provide valuable insight into the cause of a patient's pleural effusion before any tests are performed.
    • Interpretation

    • Blood-stained - traumatic collection, haemothorax, malignancy, parapneumonic effusion, pulmonary embolism
    • Milky - chylothorax
    • Food particles - oesophageal rupture
    • Bilious - biliary fistula
    • Yellow / green - rheumatoid, urinothorax
    • Ammonia odour - suggestive of urinothorax
    • Putrid-smelling - suggestive of anaerobic empyema
    • Black - aspergillosis
    • ‘Anchovy sauce' - ruptured amoebic abscess
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