ICU Chest Films > Fluid in the Chest > Pleural Effusions > Lateral Decubitus Films

Lateral Decubitus Films for Pleural Effusions

Lateral decubitus films are an important way to comfirm the presence of pleural effusions. The film should be taken with the side of the patient suspected to have an effusion in the dependent position. The lateral decubitus position can also differentiate between loculated and free effusions. Loculations occur when the visceral and parietal pleura become partially adherent. They may require guided placement of chest tubes for adequate drainage.

Pleural fluid (arrows) layers out on this left lateral decubitis film.

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