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A systematic approach to the investigation and diagnosis of a unilateral pleural effusion.

Fluid in the pleural space is a common sequela of a wide range of diseases which may be pulmonary, pleural or extrapulmonary. As the differential diagnosis is wide, a systematic approach to investigation and diagnosis is recommended. This review highlights the important features and recommendations for the investigation of a unilateral pleural effusion, a common condition encountered by the general physician. The aim of this study was to assist with a speedy diagnosis of the underlying pathology, using appropriate investigative techniques, while minimising the use of invasive procedures.

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