There are many causes for fluid build up or thickening of the pleura. Some are minor, others are more serious. Coping with not knowing what is wrong can be really difficult; Lung Cancer Specialist Nurses can provide support so ask your doctor if you would like to be referred.
Causes of pleural abnormalities include:
The lining of the lung can become irritated, thickened and make fluid. Asbestos or certain types of dusts at work may cause irritation. Some medical conditions can also cause irritation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Previous severe chest infection
Severe chest infections can cause infected fluid to build up around the lung. If the body fights off the infection scar tissue and fluid may remain. Tuberculosis (TB) infection can cause the fluid or thickening.
Previous bleeding in the chest
For example, after breaking ribs in an accident there may be a small amount of bleeding that heals on its own but leaves fluid or thickening behind.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that starts in the pleura. It is much more common in people who have worked with asbestos but can occur in people who don’t remember being around asbestos. Lung cancer or spread of cancer from elsewhere in the body can cause a pleural effusion.
If the heart is not pumping properly fluid can build up but this is diagnosed and treated without the need for any surgery.