Nursing Diagnosis For Pleural Effusion

Pleural effusion is a condition in which excess fluid builds up in the pleural cavity. This condition can be caused by heart failure, cancer, pulmonary embolism (blood clot), congestive heart failure, empyema (pus), and many other conditions. A complication of pleural effusion is pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and thorax (chest). Pleurisy can be caused by bacteria or viruses that enter through the lung tissue into your bloodstream. It can also be caused by chemicals such as asbestos fibers or cigarette smoke which irritate lung tissue causing an inflammatory response.

Nursing Diagnosis For Pleural Effusion

1. NANDA Nursing Diagnosis

NANDA International, Inc. is a professional organization that has been working to improve nursing diagnosis since 1979. NANDA-I’s goal is to ensure that all nurses are using the same language and standards when they talk about nursing diagnoses. Their website provides access to a database containing over 5500 standardized, validated nursing diagnoses for use by healthcare professionals around the world.

Nursing Diagnosis: Definitions and Classification (2006) lists more than 2500 clinically useful definitions from NANDA International’s Nursing Diagnosis Taxonomy (NOC). Most of these were developed by experts in health care systems outside North America – especially from Europe, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa – but there are also some from other regions such as Asia Pacific countries; plus hundreds more have been added by anyone who wants their ideas about what constitutes a good quality of life for patients/clients included in this list of possible answers when asking questions such as “What am I treating?” or “What are my goals?”

2. Nursing Goals

The nursing goals for this patient are as follows:

  • Reduce pain.
  • Improve mobility.
  • Improve comfort.
  • Improve nutrition. Improved respiratory function is also a goal, but it’s not explicitly stated in this list.
  • Reduce anxiety. This could be accomplished through education and providing information about the condition and care plan, or by teaching relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or guided imagery (see [1] below). Anxiety can also increase pain perception, so addressing this may help reduce suffering overall (see [2] below). It can improve respiratory function indirectly if you’re able to calm your patient down enough to make them less anxious about their symptoms!

3. Interventions with Rationale

  • Patient education
  • Pain management
  • Encouraging patient to remain active
  • Encouraging patient to use pain medication as prescribed
  • Encouraging patient to use ice packs (if available)
  • Encouraging patient to use relaxation techniques
  • Encouraging patient to use heat packs (if available)

4. Acute pain related to disturbed sensory perception secondary to incisional irritation, tissue trauma, and/or inflammation

Pain is a subjective feeling characterized by unpleasantness and/or the anticipation of a noxious stimulus. It serves as a protective mechanism that helps prevent damage to the body. Pain can be acute or chronic, described as sharp, dull, throbbing, constant or intermittent; it can also vary in intensity and duration. Pain is influenced by many factors including age, health status and genetic makeup.

The pain associated with pleural effusion (PE) can be attributed to decreased lung expansion due to fluid buildup in the chest cavity causing increased intrathoracic pressure on surrounding structures such as nerves and muscles resulting in stimulation leading to perception of pain. This condition may result when an increase in pleural pressure causes irritation between visceral pleura and parietal pleura with possible trauma occurring during placement of chest tube into intercostal space or if needlestick occurs when withdrawing needle from patient’s skin prior to administering medication into subcutaneous tissue near site where you inserted it


In conclusion, pleural effusion is a condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. It can be caused by various factors such as infection or cancerous tumors.

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