The presence of a build up of fluid around the lungs identified on x-rays and CT scans causes medical experts real concern and raises the possibility of asbestos related mesothelioma and other cancers in patients as this is a common symptom of cancerous conditions.

This build up of fluid is known as a pleural effusion which often causes debilitating symptoms in those suffering with the terrible asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.

Straw coloured fluid fills up the pleural cavity (the space between the lungs and the thin membrane which protects them), resulting in a mesothelioma patient’s lungs having less room to expand fully. Such an occurrence can lead to life limiting symptoms in the form tiredness, shortness of breath and significant chest pain.

The success of treatments for pleural effusions varies, and a new study highlights the potential benefits of a drainage catheter which remains in place throughout the mesothelioma sufferer’s treatment programme.

This is known as an “IPC” or “indwelling pleural catheter” which takes the form of a small tube measuring around the same diameter as a pencil. The IPC is inserted into the chest of the mesothelioma patient and remains in situ to allow for pleural effusion fluid to be extracted from the outside periodically.

At Asbestos Justice, we have recently represented a client in a successful mesothelioma claim which actually settled in just over 60 days of receiving first contact from them. Rather than choosing to undergo what can often be life restricting treatment in the form of chemotherapy, our client elected to have an IPC fitted and with guidance from his local district nurse, he became able to drain the pleural fluid himself on a regular basis. He found the treatment to be of great benefit to him in alleviating his breathlessness and chest pain symptoms and as a result, he has still been able to remain active, despite his diagnosis.

IPCs are often preferred by medical experts to other drainage methods as there is less pain and risk when compared to repeatedly inserting needles to draw fluid from a mesothelioma sufferer’s lungs. Pleural drainage procedures can often be painful, causing further debilitating symptoms. In mesothelioma claims where sufferers have undergone such invasive procedures, the value of their mesothelioma compensation claim for their actual condition can increase, as they have had to endure additional pain and suffering in an attempt to combat the disease.

A new study from the University Western Australia provides information relating to the benefits of making use of IPCs in the treatment of asbestos related mesothelioma and the associated side effects. The research referred to a number of complications and potential solutions:-

Metastasis of mesothelioma tumours around the catheter tract

This can be addressed with the use of external beam radiotherapy.

Pleural Infection

Less than 5% of patients develop an infection in the pleural cavity as a result of the treatment and this can be combated with the use of antibiotic therapy, ensuring that the catheter can remain in situ.

Mild Chest Pain Following Insertion

Pain relieving medication can be prescribed by experts if these symptoms develop.

The experts essentially noted a number of ways that limited complications can be treated following the insertion of IPCs and the authors of the study underlined that the more treating medical experts get used to using IPCs in the treatment of pleural effusions caused by mesothelioma, the easier it will become to reduce adverse symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with a pleural effusion and believe you may have a valid mesothelioma claim or believe you or a family member have a valid claim for asbestos compensation, please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.


Lui, MM, et al, “Complications of indwelling pleural catheter use and their management”, 5th February 2016, BMD Open Respiratory Research

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