Treatment for pleural effusion may only require treating whatever medical condition is causing the symptoms of the effusion; in other cases, inflamed, infected or large pleural effusions may require draining to stave off any potential complications and improve symptoms, as stated by WebMD. Draining a pleural effusion may be done through a thoracentesis, a tube thoracotomy or chest tube, pleural drain or pleurodesis.
For a pleural effusion caused by congestive heart failure, the administration of diuretics can help relieve symptoms. Likewise, if pneumonia is causing the pleural effusion, antibiotics may clear up the symptoms caused.
More significant effusions may require more elaborate intervention techniques. A large amount of fluid is drained during a thoracentesis procedure. A chest tube thoracotomy may be required for some cases of pleural effusion. This procedure involves inserting a tube to the pleural space by going through the chest wall. The tube is connected to suction and left in place to drain the pleural space of fluid over the course of several days.
Other times, pleurodesis may be implemented to treat pleural effusion. This involves the injection of an irritating substance into the pleural space. The effect inflames the chest wall and pleura, binding them to one another to allow them to heal more efficiently and preventing further occurrences of pleural effusion.