Supplemental oxygen is a common treatment for pulmonary edema, a condition characterized by water or other fluids in the lungs, explains Mayo Clinic. Medications to lower pressure are also commonly prescribed. Pleural effusion, another condition involving fluid in the lungs, is treated with drainage, medication or tube thoracotomy, notes WebMD.
Receiving supplemental oxygen often helps reduce the symptoms of pulmonary edema, and patients sometimes require breathing assistance with a mechanical ventilator or similar technology, states Mayo Clinic. Additionally, patients may receive preload reducers, a class of medications that lower the pressure resulting from the fluid in the lungs and heart. The pulmonary edema is sometimes caused by a nervous system disorder, in which case the patient also receives treatment for the underlying neurological condition.
Oftentimes, patients with pleural effusions require only treatment for the medical condition that caused the fluid in the lungs, such as pneumonia or congestive heart failures, explains WebMD. Effusions that are infected, inflamed or especially large require additional medical attention. A tube thoracotomy involves the insertion of a tube attached to a suction device through an incision in the chest. If the effusion is recurring, the patient may undergo a procedure called a plural drain, by which the insertion of a long-term catheter makes it possible to drain the fluid at home.