Hepatic Hydrothorax: An Updated Review on a Challenging Disease.


Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Internal Medicine Department, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Riad El Solh, PO Box 11-0236, Beirut, Lebanon. [Email]


Hepatic hydrothorax is a challenging complication of cirrhosis related to portal hypertension with an incidence of 5-11% and occurs most commonly in patients with decompensated disease. Diagnosis is made through thoracentesis after excluding other causes of transudative effusions. It presents with dyspnea on exertion and it is most commonly right sided. Pathophysiology is mainly related to the direct passage of fluid from the peritoneal cavity through diaphragmatic defects. In this updated literature review, we summarize the diagnosis, clinical presentation, epidemiology and pathophysiology of hepatic hydrothorax, then we discuss a common complication of hepatic hydrothorax, spontaneous bacterial pleuritis, and how to diagnose and treat this condition. Finally, we elaborate all treatment options including chest tube drainage, pleurodesis, surgical intervention, Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt and the most recent evidence on indwelling pleural catheters, discussing the available data and concluding with management recommendations.


Cirrhosis,Hepatic hydrothorax,Pleural effusion,Thoracentesis,