Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Can you differentiate Pleural Effusion cardiogenic from non-cardiogenic origin in cats?
Posted by Dr. Veronica Damian
The answer is: Yes!
I was listening to a Podcast from the RVC where Dr. David Connolly (cardiologist) mentioned a study published by Humm,K et al., in the Journal of Small Animal Pract.(2013 Dec; 54(12):656-61). In this study they tested blood and effusion from cats with pleural effusion, to measure NT-ProBNP concentrations and compared the groups of cardiogenic vs non cardiogenic origin.
They found that the NT-proBNP concentrations in the plasma and the pleural effusion were higher in the cardiac group. Thus concluding that measuring the NT-proBNP in pleural fluid can help distinguish cardiac from non-cardiac causes of pleural effusion in cats.
In a clinic scenario, if you have a cat that is in respiratory distress a TFAST ultrasound can detect pleural effusion. We would suggest you drain the pleural effusion immediately under an opioid sedation and run a proBNP. Then, when the patient is stable enough, carry out your further imaging including Thoracic radiographs and Echocardiogram.