Pleural diseases

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Purpose of review

Due to the increasing burden of pleural diseases worldwide, a personalized cost-effective management of these conditions is essential to optimize the healthcare sources. The current review is focused on latest evidence in diagnostic work-up and management of pleural diseases.

Recent findings

Recent research highlights the increasing role of thoracic ultrasound in both diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and the potential suitability of cytological sampling from pleural effusions for molecular analysis, essential requirement for a satisfactory test in the era of personalized anticancer therapy. The thoracoscopic approach, by means of rigid or semirigid instruments, remains the gold standard, and attractive tools to increase diagnostic yield in semirigid pleuroscopy include insulated-tip diathermic knife and cryprobe. Talc pleurodesis and indwelling pleural catheters are the most effective interventions, and their combination, likely to result in additional benefits, is currently under investigation.


Because of the huge variety of possible clinical settings, a proper management of pleural diseases should be tailored on a case-by-case basis and requires a multidisciplinary approach. Recent advances in technologies has conferred to interventional pulmonology an increasing relevant role in this context, leading to the development of a dedicated subspecialty, and training programs are urgently needed to standardize skills and care pathways.

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