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Papers of the Week

2020 Dec

Breathe (Sheff)



Clinical perspective and practices on pleural effusions in chronic systemic inflammatory diseases.


Yao X, Abd Hamid M, Sundaralingam A, Evans A, Karthikappallil R, Dong T, Rahman NM, Kanellakis NI
Breathe (Sheff). 2020 Dec; 16(4):200203.
PMID: 33447289.


Systemic inflammatory diseases are a heterogeneous family of autoimmune chronic inflammatory disorders that affect multiple systems within the human body. Connective tissue disease (CTD) is a large group within this family characterised by immune-mediated inflammation of the connective tissue. This group of disorders are often associated with pleural manifestations. CTD-induced pleuritis exhibits a wide variety of symptoms and signs including exudative pleural effusions and chest pain. Accurate estimation of prevalence for CTD-related pleuritis is challenging as small effusions are asymptomatic and remain undetected. Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are frequent CTDs and present with pleural pathology in approximately 5-20% and 17-60% of cases, respectively. By contrast, pleural involvement in systemic sclerosis, eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, mixed connective tissue disease, ankylosing spondylitis, polymyositis and dermatomyositis syndrome is rare. Clinical management depends on the severity of symptoms; however, most effusions resolve spontaneously. In this review we discuss the pathophysiological mechanisms and the clinical considerations of CTD-induced pleuritis.