Radiation Pleuritis

Epidemiology

  • Incidence: approximately 6% of patients develop pleural effusion following 4000-6000 rads of radiation administered for breast cancer [Pleural effusions following supervoltage radiation for breast carcinoma Radiology 1959; 72: 699-709]

Physiology


Clinical Manifestations

Pulmonary Manifestations

Pleural Effusion (see Pleural Effusion-Exudate, [[Pleural Effusion-Exudate]])

  • Epidemiology
    • Always occurs in association with radiation pneumonitis (see Radiation Pneumonitis and Fibrosis, [[Radiation Pneumonitis and Fibrosis]])
    • Typically develops within 6 mo of completing radiation therapy
  • Diagnosis: exudate with many pleural mesothelial cells
  • Clinical: usually small pleural effusion

Treatment

  • Supportive Therapy: resolves gradually over months without treatment

References

  • Pleural effusions following supervoltage radiation for breast carcinoma Radiology 1959; 72: 699-709