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Tuberculous pleural effusion

Contents of this page:


Pleural effusion
Pleural effusion
Respiratory system
Respiratory system

Definition    Return to top

Tuberculous (TB) pleural infusion is a buildup of fluid in the space between the lining of the lung and the lung tissue (pleural space) after a severe, usually long-term infection with tuberculosis.

See also:

Causes    Return to top

As the number of patients with HIV and AIDS increases, this condition is occurring more often.

Exams and Tests    Return to top

Fluid can be removed with a needle (tapped) from the pleural space. However, in most cases, the tuberculosis organism cannot be found in the fluid by examining it under a microscope or by trying to grow the bacteria in the laboratory from a sample of pleural fluid (culture).

The best way to make the diagnosis is to remove a piece of the lining of the lung (pleural tissue) by biopsy. This is more likely to reveal the disease-causing organism through a culture or by examining it under a microscope.

Special dyes are added to a sample to see the bacteria under the microscope. The organism takes up the dye, and then appears colored when viewed under a microscope.

Update Date: 5/20/2008

Updated by: Sean O. Stitham, MD, private practice in Internal Medicine, Seattle, Washington; and Jatin M. Vyas, PhD, MD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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