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There are a variety of types:
- Hydrothorax - water in the cavity, usually caused by ascites leaking in from the abdominal cavity.
- Haemothorax - blood in the cavity, usually as a result of trauma.
- Chylothorax - chyle(lymph fluid) in the cavity, usually as a result of lymphoma.
- Empyema - pus in the cavity, usually as a result of infection.
According to Light's criteria (Light, et al. 1972), a pleural effusion is likely exudative if at least one of the following exists:-
- The ratio of pleural fluid protein to serum protein is greater than 0.5
- The ratio of pleural fluid LDH and serum LDH is greater than 0.6
- Pleural LDH is greater than 200
- Pleural fluid LDH is greater than 0.6 or ⅔ times the normal upper limit for serum. Different laboratories have different values for the upper limit of serum LDH, but examples include 200 and 300 IU/l