Pleural fluid analysis yields important diagnostic information in pleural effusions in combination with clinical history, examination, and radiology. For more than 30 years, the initial and most pragmatic step in this process is to determine whether the fluid is a transudate or an exudate. Light's criteria remain the most robust in separating the transudate-exudate classification which dictates further investigations or management. Recent studies have led to the evaluation and implementation of a number of additional fluid analyses that may improve the diagnostic utility of this method. This paper discusses the current practice and future direction of pleural fluid analysis in determining the aetiology of a pleural effusion. While this has been performed for a few decades, a number of other pleural characteristics are becoming available suggesting that this diagnostic tool is indeed a work in progress.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->