Parapneumonic pleural effusion

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Parapneumonic pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid between layers of the tissue lining the lung and the chest cavity, which develops when a person has pneumonia.


Pneumonia, most commonly from bacteria, causes parapneumonic pleural effusion.


Antibiotics are prescribed to treat the pneumonia.

If the person has shortness of breath, a needle might be used to drain the fluid. If better drainage of the fluid is needed, a drain tube can be inserted.

Outlook (Prognosis)

This condition improves when the pneumonia improves.

Possible Complications

Empyema is a possible complication. It requires the placement of a chest tube, and possibly surgery.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/25/2014
  • Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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