Pleurisy (Pleuritis)

  • Medical Author:
    George Schiffman, MD, FCCP

    Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Understanding COPD

Shortness of Breath

Common Pleurisy Symptom

Causes of shortness of breath include

  • Anemia
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Lung cancer
  • Obesity
  • Pneumonia
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pulmonary embolism...

Pleurisy facts

  • Pleurisy involves inflammation of the tissue layers (pleura) lining the lungs and inner chest wall.
  • Pleurisy is often associated with the accumulation of fluid between the two layers of pleura, known as pleural effusion.
  • Pleurisy is caused by a variety of conditions, such as infections, tuberculosis (TB), congestive heart failure, cancer, pulmonary embolism, and collagen vascular diseases.
  • Symptoms of pleurisy include pain in the chest, which is aggravated by breathing in, shortness of breath, and local tenderness. This pain can effect the chest cavity in either the front or back of the cavity, and sometimes patient's have back or shoulder pain.
  • The diagnosis of pleurisy is made by the characteristic chest pain and physical findings on examination of the chest. The sometimes-associated pleural accumulation of fluid (pleural effusion) can be seen by imaging studies (chest X-ray, ultrasound, or CT).
  • Analysis of pleural fluid aspirated from the chest can help determine the cause of the pleurisy.
  • Treatment of the underlying conditions is key to the proper management of pleurisy. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 8/3/2015

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.


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3. "Pleurisy and pneumothorax" by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

4. "2313 The Lung Pleurea" by OpenStax College - Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site., Jun 19, 2013.. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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6. Getty Images

7. "Thoracentesis" by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - Thoracentesis. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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