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Patients with an unexplained pleural effusion often require urgent investigation. Clinical practice varies due to uncertainty as to whether an effusion should be drained completely before diagnostic imaging. We performed a retrospective study of patients undergoing medical thoracoscopy for an unexplained effusion. In 110 patients with paired (pre- and post-drainage) chest X-rays and 32 patients with paired computed tomography scans, post-drainage imaging did not provide additional information that would have influenced the clinical decision-making process.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





392 - 395


chest tube, malignant pleural effusion, pleural disease, pleural effusion, thoracic radiology, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Drainage, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pleural Effusion, Postoperative Period, Preoperative Period, Retrospective Studies, Thoracoscopy, Tomography, X-Ray Computed