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Bilateral pleural effusions turning out to be urinothorax.
SymptomsSimiliar to pleural effusion

Urinothorax (pl. urinothoraces) means urine in the fluid-filled cavity that surrounds the lungs.[1] It is a rare cause of pleural effusion secondary to obstructive uropathy whereby urine forms a collection in the pleural cavity. The urine arrives in the pleural space either retroperitoneally under the posterior diaphragm, or via the retroperitoneal lymphatics. It remains a rare, possibly under-diagnosed, differential in the case of transudative pleural effusion. Respiratory symptoms are usually mild.[2] Handa et al.,[3] described 47 cases between 1967 and 2007, noting that it was more prevalent in males, generally ipsilateral to the obstruction, and in most of the cases it is relieved by clearance of the obstruction.


Symptoms include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, chest pain, and reduced urination.[4]


  1. ^ Salcedo, JR (April 1986). "Urinothorax: report of 4 cases and review of the literature". The Journal of Urology. 135 (4): 805–808. PMID 3514964.
  2. ^ Wunderle, Kathryn; Kim, Suil; Chiovaro, Joseph (September 2017). "Urinothorax: A Rare Case of Pleural Effusion". Journal of General Internal Medicine. 32 (9): 1058–1059. doi:10.1007/s11606-017-4032-z. ISSN 0884-8734. PMC 5570734. PMID 28299602.
  3. ^ Handa A, Agarwal R, Aggarwal A N, Urinothorax: An unusual cause of pleural effusion. Singapore Med J 2007; 48(11) : e289
  4. ^ Toubes, María E.; Lama, Adriana; Ferreiro, Lucía; Golpe, Antonio; Álvarez-Dobaño, José M.; González-Barcala, Francisco J.; San José, Esther; Rodríguez-Núñez, Nuria; Rábade, Carlos (May 2017). "Urinothorax: a systematic review". Journal of Thoracic Disease. 9 (5): 1209–1218. doi:10.21037/jtd.2017.04.22. ISSN 2072-1439. PMC 5465116. PMID 28616270.