What is the role of pleural fluid LDH levels in the workup for pleural effusion (fluid on the lungs)?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Kamran Boka, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Pleural fluid LDH levels greater than 1000 IU/L suggest empyema, malignant effusion, rheumatoid effusion, or pleural paragonimiasis. Pleural fluid LDH levels are also increased in effusions from Pneumocystis jiroveci (formerly, P carinii) pneumonia. The diagnosis is suggested by a pleural fluid/serum LDH ratio of greater than 1, with a pleural fluid/serum protein ratio of less than 0.5.


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