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.

What is pleurisy?

Pleurisy describes the chest pain syndrome characterized by a sharp chest cavity pain that worsens with breathing.

Pleurisy is caused by inflammation of the linings around the lungs (the pleura), a condition also known as pleuritis. There are two layers of pleura: one covering the lung (termed the visceral pleura) and the other covering the inner wall of the chest (the parietal pleura). These two layers are lubricated by pleural fluid.

Pleurisy is frequently associated with the accumulation of extra fluid in the space between the two layers of pleura. This fluid is referred to as a pleural effusion.

The pain fibers of the lung are located in the pleura. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it results in a sharp pain in the chest that is worse with breathing. Other symptoms of pleurisy can include cough, chest tenderness, and shortness of breath.

Reviewed on 10/7/2016
References
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

IMAGES:

1.iStock

2.MedicineNet

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

4."2313 The Lung Pleurea" by OpenStax College - Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013.. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

5.iStock

6.Getty Images

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

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Allergy and Asthma Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors