Pleurisy - Causes

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What causes pleurisy?

Pleurisy can be caused by any of the following conditions:

  • Infections: bacterial (including those that cause tuberculosis), fungi, parasites, or viruses
  • Inhaled chemicals or toxic substances: exposure to some cleaning agents like ammonia
  • Collagen vascular diseases: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancers: for example, the spread of lung cancer or breast cancer to the pleura
  • Tumors of the pleura: mesothelioma or sarcoma
  • Congestion: heart failure
  • Pulmonary embolism: blood clot inside the blood vessels to the lungs. These clots sometimes severely reduce blood and oxygen to portions of the lung and can result in death to that portion of lung tissue (termed lung infarction). This, too, can cause pleurisy.
  • Obstruction of lymph channels: as a result of centrally located lung tumors
  • Trauma: rib fractures or irritation from chest tubes used to drain air or fluid from the pleural cavity in the chest
  • Certain drugs: drugs that can cause lupus-like syndromes (such as hydralazine [Apresoline], Procan [Pronestyl, Procan-SR, Procanbid - these brands no longer are available in the U.S.], phenytoin [Dilantin], and others)
  • Abdominal processes: such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, gallbladder disease, and damage to the spleen.
  • Pneumothorax: air in the pleural space, occurring spontaneously or from trauma.
Return to Pleurisy (Pleuritis)

See what others are saying

Comment from: retrorigg, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 23

After having flu like symptoms for a week, without warning I got a pain in my shoulder blade on the right hand side. I went to work on the evening as a cab driver and again without warning got a horrendous pain in my right side when breathing in, drove myself to Accident & Emergency where a lot of tests were done and I was diagnosed with pleurisy. I was given antibiotics but they weren't strong enough so took myself to the doctor and he gave me stronger ones, it took around 2 weeks to disappear.

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Comment from: Dee one, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 08

I fell off my porch and my ribs started hurting real bad. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with bruised ribs and pleurisy.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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