Monday, August 26, 2013


 A 70 year old man with a history of smoking, COPD, and lung cancer undergoes a pneumonectomy for non small cell lung cancer. His post-operative course is complicated by hemothorax requiring chest tube placement. He eventually is discharged to home. On his routine post-operative visit, he continues to complain of shortness of breath. There is no pleuritic chest pain, cough, or fever. CXR shows an effusion and thoracentesis is performed which has LDH and pleural fluid protein that are borderline between transudate and exudate. WBC is low and predominantly mononuclear. Weeks later, the pleural effusion is back.

A CT is obtained and shown above.

Challenge: What's your diagnosis?

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1 comment:

Craig Chen said...


This is trapped lung which occurs when visceral pleura is encased in fibrous peel or rind even though the inflammation that led to the rind has resolved. The CT shows chronic atelectasis with thickened visceral pleura.

Source: UpToDate.