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Pleurodesis: What to Expect at Home

Your Recovery

Pleurodesis (say "pler-oh-DEE-sus") is treatment to keep fluid from building up around your lungs. After this treatment, you should be able to breathe better and feel more comfortable.

You may have pain and feel tired. Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter medicine or give you a prescription to help with pain. You may have stitches that will need to be removed later.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired.
  • Allow your body to heal. Don't move quickly or lift anything heavy until you are feeling better.
  • You can do your normal activities when it feels okay to do so.
  • Check with your doctor to see when it is safe for you to start driving and when you can go back to work.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

Medicines

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking this medicine again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.

Incision care

  • You will have a dressing over the cut (incision). A dressing helps the incision heal and protects it. Your doctor will tell you how to take care of this.
  • If you have strips of tape on the cut the doctor made, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • If you had stitches, your doctor will tell you when to come back to have them removed.
  • You may shower 48 hours after the chest tube has been removed. Pat the incision dry. Don't swim or take a bath for the first 2 weeks, or until your doctor tells you it is okay.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You are having chest pain that is different or worse than usual.
  • You cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new pain, or your pain gets worse.
  • You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.