Breathing problems due to fluid in the lung membranes: pleural puncture

If there is a collapsed lung, air comes around the lungs, but in some conditions fluid accumulation can develop between the lung membranes. Poor breathing and discomfort will be the result, just like with a collapsed lung, but the causing factor is completely different. What are the potentially life-threatening conditions involving fluid between the lung membranes and what does pleural puncture involve?

Pleural puncture for fluid between lung membranes

  • Where is it?
  • Adverse effects of moisture
  • Indirect disorders
  • Local problems
  • Temporary relief by pleural puncture


Where is it?

There is a membrane around the lungs, which normally sits against the inner thoracic membrane (chest membrane). There is normally no space between these two membranes, because it is, as it were, in a vacuum state. However, if fluid accumulation occurs, water pressure can develop between the thoracic membrane and the lung, resulting in less space for the organ. In other words, the lung capacity decreases due to fluid. What causes this condition and how can a drain provide a temporary solution?

Adverse effects of moisture

Too much fluid between the lung membranes always has an unfavorable origin. If breathing decreases and chest pain increases, it is always necessary to undergo a medical examination. If it is not a collapsed lung (air build-up), it can be indirectly caused by several worrying conditions. An assessment of the situation should always follow quickly. What could be the causes of the condition?

Indirect disorders

There are many organs in the body that can influence the functioning of the lungs. If problems arise, it can indirectly cause a less well-functioning respiratory organ.

Affected pancreas

Pancreatitis can lead to an accumulation of fluid in the body. The inflammation can also affect other parts of the body through the blood. The moisture is partly drained to places where there is storage capacity.

Irregular albumin levels

Hypoalbumin (can be caused by liver problems) causes a lot of water and fluid to be drawn in locally. In the body, albumin ensures that fluid does not seep out of the veins, because it continues to attract fluid. An increase in this substance between the lung membranes therefore causes serious problems, also for the rest of the body.

Affected liver

Liver cirrhosis is caused by alcohol abuse, which destroys liver cells. The result is that hypertension can develop (a sharp increase in abdominal fluid), which is further stored in available spaces.

Heart problems

Heart problems such as heart failure or poorly functioning heart valves. The moisture drainage function malfunctions, which can cause quantities to build up. This will increase the pressure on important organs.

Local problems

In addition to indirect body problems, lung problems may also apply. Consider the following problematic conditions.

Lung and/or heart cancer

The actual functioning of the organ is disrupted, resulting in limited drainage capacity. Removed fluid should always be tested for malignant traces. Please note that lung and/or heart cancer can mean fluid build-up in the lung membranes, but can also cause fluid build-up in the pericardium of the pericardium. Other types of cancer near the lungs can also be a cause.


Pneumonia causes fluid and mucus build-up in and around the lungs. Before the discovery of penicillin, this was the leading cause of death. Please note that poorly treated or double pneumonia can cause the condition. It can also cause inflammation of the lung membranes. The inflammation may be caused locally (bacterial), but it may also be transmitted via blood from the interior of the lungs or other important organs.
Previous local and indirect problems with the body always require a thorough investigation, as various life-threatening conditions may apply.

Temporary relief by pleural puncture

If the pressure of the fluid becomes too much, fluid between the lung membranes must be drained. The lungs need the original contents of the thoracic space. To this end, a pipe or drain is placed between the ribs via a puncture. The drain is placed between the membranes without anesthesia so that the fluid can be removed. The patient will immediately be able to get more air, allowing the lungs to work better. Yet this is temporary. The cause of the condition should be located as quickly as possible so that additional treatment steps can be taken. Please note that there is a chance that a pneumathorax, or collapsed lung, will be caused after a pleural drain. The moisture is therefore replaced by air with similar breathing problems.
Due to the severity of the circumstances, the drain installed will often be present for a long time to remove any unexpected moisture build-up between the membranes.

read more

  • We cannot exist without alveoli: alveoli
  • Poor breathing due to fibrosis: emphysema COPD
  • What is the risk of death from respiratory disease?
  • GPA: severe damage to lungs, kidneys due to autoimmune disease
  • Lung abscess: bad-smelling mucus coughed up, fever, fatigue
Scroll to Top