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Pleural Fluid
 
 

Pleural Fluid Appearance

 
 
 
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Overview

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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