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July 24, 1937

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1937;109(4):285-291. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780300041020

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LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)June 26, 1937.

The Treatment of Pleural Effusion  In a discussion at the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr. Burton Wood said that the commonest cause today of pleural effusion in the tuberculous was trauma. Better than treating a pleural effusion was not to provoke one: to remember that a blunt needle will lacerate the pleura, that a drop of alcohol left on a needle may cause intense irritation, that cold air injected into a warm pleural cavity may provoke reaction, or a positive pressure lead to effusion by the stretching of or tearing of adhesions. The man who cannot use his needle as an artist should turn to less delicate work. Any pleural puncture may be the first step toward thoracoplasty.Many pleural effusions do not require active treatment. They are benign and may be protective in effect if not in intention. Thus a pleural

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