5 doctors weighed in:

What color is drainage from a chest tube when you have a pleural effusion?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Peter Hahn
Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Critical Care
3 doctors agree

In brief: Depends on cause

It really depends on the cause of the effusion.
For example, it can look very bloody if related to a hemothorax or complicated parapneumonic effusion, it can look like pus if due to an empyema, or it can even look milky if related to a chylothorax, in general, if due to pneumonia or malignancy it usually looks clear to yellowish with some blood.

In brief: Depends on cause

It really depends on the cause of the effusion.
For example, it can look very bloody if related to a hemothorax or complicated parapneumonic effusion, it can look like pus if due to an empyema, or it can even look milky if related to a chylothorax, in general, if due to pneumonia or malignancy it usually looks clear to yellowish with some blood.
Dr. Peter Hahn
Dr. Peter Hahn
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2 doctors agree

In brief: Varies

Most are yellow, pale serous.
Hemothorax is bloody -red chylothorax is creamy pus can be yellow, green, nasty.

In brief: Varies

Most are yellow, pale serous.
Hemothorax is bloody -red chylothorax is creamy pus can be yellow, green, nasty.
Dr. Creighton Wright
Dr. Creighton Wright
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