Karen L. Krok; Andrés Cárdenas


Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2012;33(1):3-10. 

In This Article

Clinical Presentation

The clinical presentation of hepatic hydrothorax is typically dominated by signs and symptoms of cirrhosis and ascites. A hepatic hydrothorax should be suspected in a patient with cirrhosis who develops a unilateral (typically right-sided) pleural effusion. Hepatic hydrothorax can present asymptomatically or with cough, dyspnea, hypoxia, or respiratory failure depending on various factors. These include the volume of fluid in the pleural space, the rapidity of the accumulation of the pleural fluid and the presence of coexistent cardiopulmonary diseases. Most of these effusions tend to be small to moderate in size, with only 6% of patients having effusions that occupy greater than half of a hemithorax.[28]