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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2003 Apr;23(4):494-6.

Late postoperative pleural effusion following lung transplantation: characteristics and clinical implications.

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Pulmonary Institute, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Petah Tiqva, Israel.



Pleural effusions are extremely common in the early postoperative period after lung transplantation (LTX). It occurs in all transplant recipients, and like pleural fluid following other cardiothoracic surgery is bloody, exudative and neutrophil predominant. There was no information, however, on the characteristics of the late (14-45 days) postoperative pleural fluid after LTX. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and the clinical implications of late postoperative pleural effusion after LTX.


Thirty-five patients underwent TX between May 1997 and May 2001. Seven patients (20%) developed late postoperative pleural effusion. Thoracentesis were performed in these patients and the white blood cell counts, cell differential as well as biochemical parameters were determined.


The median time for late pleural effusion appearance was 23 days (range, 14-34 days) after TX. The pleural effusions were medium in size (700 ml, range, 100-1300), exudative in all the patients and had lymphocyte predominance. No evidence of fluid recurrence or clinical deterioration was noted in these patients.


Late-onset exudative lymphocytic pleural effusion after LTX is not uncommon. When there is no evidence of rejection or infection, it usually has a benign, favorable outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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