Further Inpatient Care:
Monitoring pleural drainage
Repeat chest radiographs when drainage falls below100 mL/d to evaluate whether the effusion has been fully drained. If a large effusion persists radiographically, reevaluate the position of the chest catheter. If the catheter is positioned appropriately, consider injecting lytics through the chest tube
Large air leaks, steady streams of air throughout the respiratory cycle, might be indications of loose connectors or of a drainage port on the catheter that has migrated out to the skin. Alternatively, they might indicate large bronchopleural fistulae.
Prognosis varies by underlying etiology.
Malignant effusions convey a very poor prognosis, typically measured in months.
Parapneumonic effusions, when recognized and treated promptly, typically resolve without significant sequelae. However, untreated or inappropriately treated parapneumonic effusions might lead to constrictive fibrosis.
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