The pleural cavity is the space surrounding each lung in the chest. The pleura is the thin layer of tissue that covers the outer surface of each lung and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity, creating a sac that encloses the pleural cavity.
Malignant pleural effusions is when pleural tissue is not able to produce a small amount of fluid that helps the lungs move smoothly in the chest while a person is breathing. It may cause dyspnoea, cough and chest pain.
Malignant pleural effusions often occur in advanced or unresectable cancer or in the last few weeks of life. The goal of treatment is usually palliative, to relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life.
The aim of the malignant pleural effusions is to give relief from breathlessness. At times the treatment of underlying cancer can cause resolution of effusion. A simple aspiration of pleural fluid can relieve breathlessness fast but the fluid and symptoms will usually recur within few weeks. It is because of this that more permanent treatments are usually used to prevent fluid recurrence. The standard treatment includes chest tube insertions and pleurodesis. But, this treatment demands the patient to stay for approximately 2-7 days in the hospital and be highly painful and has a significant failure rate.
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