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Early Detection Matters: The Role of Hydropneumothorax in Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Early Detection Matters: The Role of Hydropneumothorax in Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Doctors from Japan are encouraging doctors to test for mesothelioma when their patients show signs of hydropneumothorax. Hydropneumothorax is when there is fluid and air between the lungs and underneath the chest wall. This is area is also called the pleural space.

The Role of Hydropneumothorax in Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure. It grows in the lining of organs in the body, usually the lungs or abdomen.

The symptoms of mesothelioma depend on where the cancer is growing. When the tumors are developing in the lungs, people might feel chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, and fatigue.

Another possible symptom of mesothelioma in the lungs in fluid and air in the chest cavity. This condition is called hydropneumothorax. This symptom is uncommon for mesothelioma in the lungs.

Normally, the pleural cavity has a thin layer of fluid that helps the lungs move smoothly during breathing. However, in hydropneumothorax, there is too much fluid and air, which can put pressure on the lung and make it hard to breathe.

Early Diagnosis in Mesothelioma Cases

In a study published in the scientific journal Cureus, doctors at a hospital in Japan treated an elderly man who needed help with swollen legs. After taking pictures of his chest, the doctors found out the patient had hydropneumothorax.

This diagnosis led the doctors to run more tests to find out what was causing the buildup of air and fluid in the lung cavity. The doctors also found out that the patient had worked in a place with stones in the past, which might have exposed him to asbestos.

To make the patient feel more comfortable, the doctors drained the fluid from his lungs and then did a special surgery to confirm that he had mesothelioma.

Based on this case, the doctors say that it is important to think about mesothelioma when a patient is diagnosed with hydropneumothorax. This can help doctors reach a mesothelioma diagnosis earlier and improve a patient’s outlook.


Kuramochi M, Muraoka T, Shinonaga M, Ohtani H, Kuraoka S. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) Presenting as Hydropneumothorax. Cureus. 2023;15(7):e41243. Published 2023 Jul 1. doi:10.7759/cureus.41243. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10388151/

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