Supportive Care

Interventions to Treat Malignant Pleural Effusions

April Lenker

Deborah K. Mayer

Stephen A. Bernard

malignant pleural effusion, quality of life, indwelling pleural catheter, talc pleurodesis, tunneled pleural catheter
CJON 2015, 19(5), 501-504. DOI: 10.1188/15.CJON.501-504

Malignant pleural effusions (MPEs) are common complications that occur with advanced stages of cancer. In general, they indicate a poor prognosis and greatly affect quality of life (QOL). The treatment goal of MPEs is to provide relief of symptoms. The standard treatment for MPEs is talc pleurodesis; however, indwelling pleural catheters have become more frequently used. This article focuses on current management strategies for MPEs and assesses their influence on QOL.

At a Glance

  • Symptoms of malignant pleural effusions (MPEs), which involve the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, include dyspnea, shortness of breath, chest pain, and other issues that decrease functional status.
  • Treatment for MPEs should be palliative, achieving immediate symptom relief and improved quality of life.
  • The optimal treatment strategy for MPEs should have minimal side effects, require minimal or no hospitalization, and have low rates of recurrence.
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