The pleura is a thin serous membrane which folds back onto itself to form a two-layered, membrane structure which covers the lungs and lines the chest wall. The outer pleura that lines the inner surface of the chest cavity is called parietal pleura. While the inner membrane that covers the surface of lungs and other adjoining structures, i.e. blood vessels, bronchi and nerves is called visceral pleura.
The thin space between the two layers is known as the pleural cavity (pleural space). This cavity normally contains a small amount of pleural fluid which acts as a lubricant as the lungs expand and contract during respiration, preventing friction between the surfaces. If excessive amount of fluid accumulates in the pleural cavity, Pleural Effusion may develop. It is commonly known as “water on the lungs.”
The parietal pleura is highly sensitive to pain; the visceral pleura is not, because it receives no nerves of general sensation.
The two types of fluid are very different, and which type is present can help physicians determine what sort of disease produced the effusion. Learn More
Identifying the cause of the effusion is important because the treatment will be targeted towards this cause. The doctor will find a treatment that will work best on the patient based on what type of effusion and symptoms the patient have. Learn More