"Pleural effusion is a common complication after bypass surgery", say researchers who recently carried out a study of 400 patients who had undergone bypass heart surgery. Pleural effusion involves the accumulation of fluid within the pleural space in the chest. Pleural space is the narrow space between the lungs and the chest wall, covered by a thin transparent membrane called the pleura.
The study indicated that almost 55% had a pleural effusion one month after the bypass surgery. Around 15 per cent of cases had an effusion that occupied more than 25 per cent of one side of the chest while in most of cases the effusions were small, left-sided and disappeared over time.
Patients who suffered large pleural effusions after the surgery complained of severe breathlessness - although not of chest pain or fever. However, these large effusions also disappeared slowly over a year following the surgery.