Pleurisy
(Pleuritis)

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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, 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.
  • 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/4/2013

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Pleurisy (Pleuritis)

Pleurisy Treatment: A Little Complicated

External splinting of the chest wall and pain medication can reduce the pain of pleurisy. Treatment of the underlying disease, of course, ultimately relieves the pleurisy.

If the pleural fluid shows signs of infection, appropriate treatment involves antibiotics and drainage of the fluid. If there is pus inside the pleural space, a chest drainage tube should be inserted.


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