Dynamics of CT visible pleural effusion in patients with pulmonary infarction
Pleural effusion remains largely unexplored in patients with pulmonary embolism and concurrent pulmonary infarction (PI). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the size of PI and pleural effusion as well as the time course of pleural effusion in patients with PI.
Materials and methods
Data from 103 patients with PI was retrospectively analyzed along with patient comorbidities, size of PI, presence and size of pleural effusion with the time between the onset of clinical symptoms of PI and CT study.
Assessment of possible correlations between the size of PI and age revealed a significant negative correlation. There was a highly significant difference (p=0.005) in the mean size of PI in patients with effusion (34.5 cm3) compared to those without it (14.3 cm3), but the size of the effusion had no correlation with the size of PI. The size of the effusion peaked between 4th – 5th day after the onset of clinical symptoms of PI. In the first 5 days after the onset of clinical symptoms of PI a significant correlation was found between the size of the effusion and time with approximation of 1.3 mm/12 h.
The data shows that patients with a pleural effusion are more likely to have a larger PI than those without it. If present, the effusion can be expected to increase in a relatively slow linear fashion in the first 5 days after the onset of clinical symptoms of PI.