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June 6, 1977

Pleural Effusion

JAMA. 1977;237(23):2469. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270500021005

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To the Editor.—  In the article on pleural effusion by Storey and co-workers (236:2183, 1976), there is no notation as to the ages of the 133 patients studied. Since tuberculosis was documented in only one, I presume they were dealing largely with patients over the age of 50 years, where causes other than tuberculosis predominate. However, the age of the patients studied should always be mentioned where the causes of pleural effusion are concerned, because in persons under the age of 30 years, even today, tuberculosis has to be considered an excellent possibility when no definite cause can be determined. As it stands, without reference to age, this article may lead to confusion and cause physicians to overlook tuberculosis as the cause of an effusion in a young person, and this can have tragic consequences.