Pleural effusion may have no symptoms at first, or the symptoms may be so mild that a person ignores them. Symptoms can also vary depending on the amount of fluid and how fast it builds up.
The most common symptoms of pleural effusion are:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Breathing that is difficult or painful
- Sudden, sharp chest pain
- Chest tightness or a feeling of heaviness in the chest
- Unexplained cough
Deep breathing often increases the pain, and shortness of breath may get worse when you lie down.