What is the relevance of mesothelial cells found during the workup for pleural effusions (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

Mesothelial cells are found in variable numbers in most effusions, but their presence at greater than 5% of total nucleated cells makes a diagnosis of TB less likely. Markedly increased numbers of mesothelial cells, especially in bloody or eosinophilic effusions, suggests pulmonary embolism as the cause of effusion.


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