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A previously fit and well 43-year-old man presented with 8 weeks of worsening breathlessness and a dry cough. He was an ex-smoker of 10 pack-years with no history of asbestos exposure, thoracic radiation or recent trauma.
Chest radiograph and CT thorax are shown in figure 1. Pleural aspiration was undertaken and 1.5 L of blood-stained fluid was removed, with symptomatic improvement. The fluid was exudative, with lactose dehydrogenase (LDH) 437U/L (serum 374U/L) and protein 47g/L (serum 77g/L). Infection was excluded by negative microbiological culture and normal inflammatory markers. Cytology revealed numerous red blood cells, scattered lymphocytes and eosinophils, but no malignant cells.
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