Recurrent, late-onset pleural effusions in elderly patients receiving pacemaker therapy

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Late-onset pacemaker-related pleural effusions (PEs) are rare and are often misdiagnosed with other entities. Our study aimed to detail the clinical features and management of PEs long after pacemaker insertion.We conducted a review of 6 consecutive elderly patients with PEs, who had undergone a new pacemaker insertion from September 2014 to January 2017. Also, the clinical characteristics and therapeutic courses of PEs were summarized.Two cases involved fluids after the first implantations, with pacing durations of 3 and 7 months. Two other cases developed PEs 3 or 4 months after the first replacement, with pacing durations of 6 and 11 years. Another 2 cases developed PEs 3 or 5 months following the second replacement, with total pacing durations of 16 and 18 years, respectively. The average interval was 4.17 months for the 6 cases from the time of the new pacemaker insertion to the occurrence of PEs. During the course, they had to be hospitalized repeatedly for thoracenteses because conventional treatments had only short-term effects. After the pacing settings were adjusted, PEs in all cases disappeared gradually. No patients were readmitted for PEs during the median follow-up period of 13 months.For elderly patients following implantation of a new pacemaker, PEs should be considered due to improper pacing settings, and corresponding adjustments to the device should be made.

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