Which risk factors are often overlooked in undiagnosed exudative pleural effusions?

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

Despite evaluations with repeated diagnostic thoracenteses, approximately 20% of exudative effusions remain undiagnosed. Clues to the diagnosis that may have been overlooked include (1) occupational exposure to asbestos 10-20 years earlier, which may suggest benign asbestos effusion; (2) medication exposure to nitrofurantoin, amiodarone, or medications associated with a drug-induced lupus syndrome; and (3) hepatic hydrothorax unrecognized in a patient with minimal or undetectable ascites.


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