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[ANSWERED 2023] A 50 year old Caucasian female presents to the clinic with complaints of cough for almost 2 weeks. Positive productive green

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A 50 year old Caucasian female presents to the clinic with complaints of cough for almost 2 weeks. Positive productive green sputum

A 50 year old Caucasian female presents to the clinic with complaints of cough for almost 2 weeks. Positive productive green sputum

A 50 year old Caucasian female presents to the clinic with complaints of cough for almost 2 weeks

Examining Chest X-Rays

Chest x-rays are an invaluable diagnostic tool as they can help identify common respiratory disorders such as pneumonia, pleural effusion, and tumors, as well as cardiovascular disorders such as an enlarged heart and heart failure. As an advanced practice nurse, it is important that you are able to differentiate a normal x-ray from an abnormal x-ray in order to identify these disorders.

The ability to articulate the results of a chest x-ray with the physician, radiologist, and patient is an essential skill when facilitating care in a clinical setting. In this Discussion, you practice your interprofessional collaboration skills as you interpret chest x-rays and exchange feedback with your colleagues.

Consider the three patient case studies and x-rays

Case Study 1

35-yearold Asian male presents to your clinic complaining of productive cough for two weeks. Stated he has had mild intermittent fever with myalgia, malaise and occasional nausea.

  • SH: works as a law clerk
  • PE: NP noted low grade fever (99 degrees), with very mild wheezing and scattered rhonchi.

Case Study 2

This is a 44-yearold Caucasian male being seen at your clinics with complaints of complaints of cough for 4 days and worsening. Stated he has had high grade fever. States he feels weak and has been in bed most of the last two days. Complains of exertional dyspnea, followed by dyspnea at rest, non-productive cough and pleuritic chest pain

  • MEDS: Zovirax, Diflucan, magic mouth wash, Zofran, mycostatin, filgrastin
    PMH: HTN, Hep C, HIV/AIDS, thrush
    SH: Past IV Drug abuse; lives in a group home;
    PE: VS: Ht: 5’7, Wt: 150#, BMI 23,

Anorexic male, febrile, tachypneic, tachycardic, with rales and rhonchi. You note decreased in breath sounds, dullness, and egophony

Case Study 3

A 50 year old Caucasian female presents to the clinic with complaints of cough for almost 2 weeks. Positive productive green sputum with associated chills, sweating, and fever up to 101.5. She manages a daycare and states that many of the children have had upper respiratory symptoms in the last two weeks. PMH: DM diagnosed 7 years ago, controlled on medications.

  • MEDS: Glyburide 10mg qd
  • PE: She looks ill with continuous coughing and chills.
  • BP 100/80, T: 102, HR: 110; O2Sat 97% on RA.
  • Lungs: +Crackles, increased fremitus
  • Labs: CBC 17,000 cells/mm3 , blood sugar is 120

To prepare:

  • Review Part 10 of the Buttaro et al. text in this week’s Resources, as well as the provided x-rays.
  • Reflect on what you see in the x-ray assigned to you by the Course Instructor.
  • Consider whether the patient in your assigned x-ray has an enlarged heart, enlarged blood vessels, fluid in the lungs, and/or pneumonia in the lungs.

Post an explanation of the primary diagnosis, as well as 3 differential diagnoses, for the patient in the case study you were selected or were assigned. Describe the role the patient history and physical exam played in the diagnosis. Then, suggest potential treatment options based on your patient diagnosis.

Expert Answer and Explanation

Examining Chest X-Rays

The Primary Diagnosis

The primary diagnosis for this case is pneumonia. Pneumonia is either a bacterial or viral infection that affects one or all parts of the lungs. According to Zhu et al. (2020), pneumonia infection is often spread through droplets from an infected person. This disease has been selected as the primary diagnosis because the patient reports that she has bee interacting with children showing upper respiratory signs for the last two weeks.

Some of the signs of pneumonia include fever, chills, a cough that produces mucus, and shortness of breath. The patient has reported almost all the signs highlighted above. The X-ray test showed that the patient has fluids in the alveoli, and according to Lapinsky, Leen, Mak, and Shafiee (2019), this is a sign of pneumonia.

Differential Diagnosis

1. Asthma

According to Chahin & Opal (2017), asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes a person’s airways to be inflamed, swollen, and narrow, making the individual experience difficulty breathing. Some of the symptoms of the disease include coughing that worsens, difficulty breathing, ad chest pain. This disease has been included in the diagnosis because it causes a cough that produces a lot of mucus as experienced by the patient.

2. Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disease

COPD is a group of medical conditions that block a person’s breathing system and thus make it hard for the individual to breathe. Some of the diseases’ signs include lack of energy that can cause fainting, frequent respiratory infections, swelling of legs and ankles, and a cough that produces mucus (Zhou et al., 2020). This disease has been included in the diagnosis because one of its signs is a cough that produces mucus like the one reported by the patient.

3. Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the lung region. The disease symptoms include a new cough that does not fade, hoarseness, shortness of breath, bone pain, and losing weight (Yoon, Kim, Yang, & Ham, 2028). The disease has been included in the diagnosis because one of its symptoms is a prolonged cough, like the one experienced by the patient for two weeks.

Role of Patient History in the Diagnosis

The personal and medical history provided by the patient was so helpful when diagnosis the individual. The history was used to determine the causes of the ailment. Most of the respiratory problems are often caused by allergies. Therefore, information about allergies could help the medical doctor determine whether the patient’s condition is an allergic reaction (Zhou et al., 2020).

By stating where she works, it was concluded that she contracted the disease from the children or the one who infected the kids. Another important history in the diagnosis is that it helped the medical professional risk factors that could have increased the patient’s chances of being infected by the germ. Patient history also provided the medical professional with information about the diagnostic tests the patient can afford.

Potential Treatment Options

The treatment of the patient will depend on the type of pneumonia the individual has. If the patient has bacterial pneumonia, she should be prescribed antibiotics. However, if the condition is caused by a viral infection, the patient should be prescribed an antiviral medication to fight the virus. Fever can be relieved using medications, such as Tylenol, Motrin, and aspirin (Yoon et al., 2018).


Chahin, A., & Opal, S. M. (2017). Severe pneumonia caused by Legionella pneumophila: Differential diagnosis and therapeutic considerations. Infectious disease clinics of North America, 31(1), 111.

Lapinsky, S., Leen, J., Mak, J., & Shafiee, M. A. (2019). A Challenging Case of Non-resolving Pneumonia: Keeping Antisynthetase Syndrome In the Differential Diagnosis. Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine, 14(1), 25-28.

Yoon, Y. K., Kim, M. J., Yang, K. S., & Ham, S. Y. (2018). The role of serum procalcitonin in the differential diagnosis of pneumonia from pulmonary edema among the patients with pulmonary infiltrates on chest radiography. Medicine, 97(47). doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000013348

Zhou, M., Chen, Y., Yang, D., Xu, Y., Yao, W., Huang, J., … & Zou, L. (2020). A Deep Learning Pipeline for Accurate Differential Diagnosis between Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia and Influenza Pneumonia.

Zhu, N., Zhang, D., Wang, W., Li, X., Yang, B., Song, J., … & Niu, P. (2020). A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China, 2019. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2001017

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Left-Sided Pleural Effusion: Understanding Its Causes

Pleural effusion is a medical condition where there is an excessive buildup of fluid in the pleural space, the area between the lungs and the chest wall. This condition can cause various symptoms and complications depending on the underlying cause. In this article, we will focus on left-sided pleural effusion and its causes.

Understanding Pleural Effusion

Before we dive into the causes of left-sided pleural effusion, let’s first understand what pleural effusion is and its types.

What is Pleural Effusion?

Pleural effusion is a condition where there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pleural space. The pleural space is a thin layer of fluid-filled space that surrounds the lungs and the chest wall. This space allows the lungs to move smoothly during breathing.

Types of Pleural Effusion

There are two types of pleural effusion: transudative and exudative. Transudative effusions occur due to imbalances in the pressure in the pleural space, while exudative effusions are caused by various diseases and conditions.

Left-Sided Pleural Effusion: Causes and Symptoms

Left-sided pleural effusion occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the pleural space on the left side of the chest. Here are some of the common causes of left-sided pleural effusion:

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a medical condition where the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently, causing a backup of fluid in the lungs and other parts of the body. This condition can lead to left-sided pleural effusion.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the lungs and can cause various symptoms, including left-sided pleural effusion. The cancer cells can invade the pleura and cause an accumulation of fluid.


Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause inflammation and fluid buildup in the pleural space. Left-sided pleural effusion can occur as a result of pneumonia.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a serious medical condition where a blood clot blocks one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. This condition can cause left-sided pleural effusion.

Other Causes

Other causes of left-sided pleural effusion include tuberculosis, autoimmune disorders, and trauma.

Symptoms of Left-Sided Pleural Effusion

Left-sided pleural effusion can cause various symptoms, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose left-sided pleural effusion, a doctor will perform a physical exam, take a medical history, and order imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans. Treatment for left-sided pleural effusion depends on the underlying cause.

In some cases, the fluid may need to be drained using a needle or catheter. Medications may also be prescribed to treat the underlying condition causing the effusion.


Left-sided pleural effusion can be a serious medical condition that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. If you experience any symptoms of pleural effusion, seek medical attention immediately.

Right Sided Pleural Effusion Causes: Understanding Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Pleural effusion is a condition characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, which is the space between the lung and the chest wall. This condition can occur on one side of the chest (unilateral) or both (bilateral). However, when it occurs on the right side, it is known as right-sided pleural effusion. In this article, we will explore the various causes of right-sided pleural effusion, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.

1. Understanding pleural effusion

As mentioned earlier, pleural effusion is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the pleural space. Normally, there is a small amount of fluid present in this space that acts as a lubricant between the lung and the chest wall. However, when the production of fluid exceeds its absorption, or if there is a problem with the drainage of this fluid, pleural effusion occurs.

2. Causes of right-sided pleural effusion

There are several causes of right-sided pleural effusion, including:

Congestive heart failure

This is the most common cause of pleural effusion. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump blood effectively, causing fluid to accumulate in the lungs and other parts of the body, including the pleural space.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer can also cause pleural effusion. Cancer cells can grow in the lining of the lungs, known as the pleura, and cause an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space.


Pneumonia is a lung infection that can lead to pleural effusion. The infection causes inflammation, which can affect the pleura and cause fluid buildup.

Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot travels to the lungs and blocks a blood vessel. This can cause pleural effusion as the lung tissue becomes damaged and fluid accumulates in the pleural space.


Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that can affect the lungs and cause pleural effusion. The infection can cause inflammation of the pleura, leading to fluid accumulation.

Other causes

Other less common causes of right-sided pleural effusion include liver disease, autoimmune diseases, and certain medications.

3. Symptoms of right-sided pleural effusion

The symptoms of pleural effusion can vary depending on the amount of fluid present in the pleural space. Common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

4. Diagnosis of right-sided pleural effusion

Diagnosing pleural effusion typically involves a physical exam, medical history review, and imaging tests. These tests may include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Thoracentesis

5. Treatment options for right-sided

The treatment for pleural effusion depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. Some of the treatment options for right-sided pleural effusion include:


Thoracentesis is a procedure in which a needle is inserted through the chest wall to remove the excess fluid from the pleural space. This procedure can help relieve symptoms and improve breathing. It can also help determine the underlying cause of the effusion by analyzing the fluid.


Pleurodesis is a procedure in which a chemical or medication is inserted into the pleural space to create inflammation and scar tissue, which helps prevent the buildup of fluid. This procedure is typically recommended for recurrent pleural effusions or if thoracentesis is not effective.


Surgery may be recommended if other treatment options are not effective. The most common surgery for pleural effusion is called a decortication, which involves removing the pleural tissue and scar tissue from the lung to allow it to expand and function properly.


If the pleural effusion is caused by an underlying condition, such as congestive heart failure or tuberculosis, treating the underlying condition may help alleviate the symptoms of the effusion. Medications may be prescribed to treat the underlying condition, such as diuretics for congestive heart failure or antibiotics for tuberculosis.

6. Preventing right-sided pleural effusion

Preventing pleural effusion depends on addressing the underlying causes. To reduce the risk of pleural effusion, it is important to:

  • Quit smoking
  • Treat any underlying medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure or tuberculosis
  • Get regular check-ups with your healthcare provider

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, right-sided pleural effusion is a condition characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space on the right side of the chest. It can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions, including congestive heart failure, lung cancer, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, and others. Symptoms of pleural effusion can include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, and fatigue.

Diagnosis typically involves imaging tests and thoracentesis. Treatment options include thoracentesis, pleurodesis, surgery, and medications, depending on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms. Preventing pleural effusion involves addressing underlying medical conditions and avoiding risk factors.

Can left-sided pleural effusion be prevented?

Left-sided pleural effusion can be prevented by managing underlying conditions that can cause it, such as heart failure, pneumonia, and lung cancer.

Is left-sided pleural effusion contagious?

No, left-sided pleural effusion is not contagious.

Can left-sided pleural effusion lead to lung collapse?

Yes, in severe cases, left-sided pleural effusion can lead to lung collapse.

Can pleural effusion be life-threatening?

Yes, if left untreated, pleural effusion can lead to complications such as pneumonia, collapsed lung, or even respiratory failure.

How long does it take to recover from pleural effusion?

Recovery time depends on the underlying cause and severity of the effusion. Mild cases may improve with treatment within a few days, while more severe cases may take weeks or even months to recover fully.

Is pleural effusion contagious?

No, pleural effusion is not contagious. It is a medical condition caused by underlying medical issues or diseases.

Can pleural effusion come back after treatment?

Yes, pleural effusion can recur after treatment, particularly if the underlying condition is not fully addressed.

Can pleural effusion be prevented?

While it may not always be preventable, addressing underlying medical conditions and avoiding risk factors such as smoking can reduce the risk of developing pleural effusion.

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