The existence of pulmonary edema is one of the first conditions that medical students are sure they have found. Listening to the chest in cases of cardiac decompensation, one hears rales of varying magnitude, and as one progresses toward the bases of the lungs the characteristic signs of edema may be lost. The student, being preternaturally alert, says at once to himself and to nearby nurses "Ah, a pleural effusion!"
Forthwith a new issue arises. To tap or not to tap— that is the question! Having been a medical house officer and a medical resident with a surgical complex, kept under with difficulty, I usually found a reason for trying to drain this abnormal collection of fluid, and when I scored heavily in my collection I was correspondingly gratified. That the fluid in question reaccumulated in a few hours did not bother me. I had done something positive, something which
DRINKER CK, WARREN MF. THE GENESIS AND RESOLUTION OF PULMONARY TRANSUDATES AND EXUDATES. JAMA. 1943;122(5):269–273. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840220001001
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