Transudate Versus Exudate

Both are fluids that can occur in the body during inflammation or changes in liquid-solid (oncotic-hydrostatic) pressures.

Memory aids

Transudate is transparent, because it is clear and has a low protein content. It comes from a deranged balance of oncotic-hydrostatic pressures. As a generalisation, think systemic disease.

Exudate involves extruded proteins. It has a comparatively high protein content. As a generalisation, think local inflammation or malignancy.

Pleural effusions

A pleural effusion can involve transudate or exudate. Light’s Criteria is used to determine which is the case.


  1. Exeter Clinical Laboratory. Blood Sciences Test / Transudate or Exudate. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from
  2. Life in the Fast Lane Medical Blog. Pleural Fluid Analysis. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from
  3. American Family Physician. (2006). Diagnostic Approach to Pleural Effusion in Adults. Retrieved 19 March 2017, from

One thought on “Transudate Versus Exudate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s