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Supportive Care

Interventions to Treat Malignant Pleural Effusions

April Lenker
Deborah K. Mayer
Stephen A. Bernard
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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