Patient Comments: Pleurisy (Pleuritis) - Diagnosis

Question:

How was the diagnosis of your pleurisy (pleuritis) established? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Deputy Dog, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: March 09

I had an ongoing cough and woke up during Friday night with pain in the right chest. I thought that I had pulled a muscle during a coughing fit while sleeping. The pain was specific in the area below the right nipple and was stabbing whenever I coughed, breathed deep or moved suddenly. I was unable to get back to deep sleep the rest of the night. I took it slow during the day on Saturday and went to bed. I was unable to sleep due to sharp stabbing pains that just got worse as time passed. By morning I went to the emergency room (ER) and was in so much pain I was unable to answer questions and luckily had my wife with me. After eight hours in the ER under morphine I was admitted still with pain. CT, x-rays, numerous blood draws and sonogram ruled out heart problems, blood/air clot in the lung. I spent the night under pain medications and was diagnosed with pleurisy the next day and released from the hospital with a regimen of 600 mg ibuprofen three times daily. I am still having some pain when deep breathing and sudden movement or lying down a day later but it is manageable.

Comment from: ellie1596, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 06

A while back, (February/march) I was diagnosed with pneumonia for the second time and was given the typical antibiotic to relieve my sickness. About three weeks later I wound up in a hospital and after 6 hours spent and getting nowhere, I was unofficially diagnosed with pleurisy. The doctor told me only to take ibuprofen every day for 2 weeks and I would be fine. I felt better but always have had dull little pains since. Now, the pain is full on back and I am trying to get in to see a physician again. My fear is that it is something worse.

Comment from: LYNNELL, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 11

I had first congestive heart failure (CHF), discovered by my pacemaker check. Then a week later I found out I have pleurisy from an ultra sound, followed by a CT scan. I am on 40 mg of Lasix for my CHF and nothing for the pleurisy. They said there just going to keep their eye on it.

Comment from: Mschips, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I just came back from the emergency room (ER). After a chest x-ray, CT-scan, and blood work, the doctor said it was a type of pleurisy. I get this every year. I have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and this seems to be a result of that. I always get antibiotics which seems to clear it up pretty fast. I am also on a daily dose of prednisone due to the RA. No known reason why the pleurisy is recurrent.

Comment from: Kathy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I had just finished eating dinner, relaxing and watching T.V. when I had extreme chest pain under my left breast. I have a mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and at first I thought it was the stabbing pain I sometimes get from it, but this was lasting too long and so severe that I could not sit up straight or take a deep breath. After 20 minutes of this pain it was time to go to the emergency room, they did a EKG, chest X-ray, CT scan and blood work. I was admitted overnight and next day they said It was not cardiac related and to see my doctor for a follow up. When the morphine they gave me at the hospital wore off I was still in extreme pain so my doctor's office said go back to the emergency room, this time the admitting nurse said it could be pleurisy, after the ER doctor at the second hospital saw me she said it is pleurisy. I had never heard of it before, I do not like to take any pills even aspirin but the pain is so extreme that I"m thankful for and willing to take the Vicodin they prescribed. I follow up with my doctor and two other specialist in a week, I wish I"d still never heard of this. Good luck to those of you reading this hang in there, and find out as much as you can.

Comment from: Zoey2015, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 13

I had pleurisy about a year ago and think I have it again. I have been in to see my doctor a few days ago. I unfortunately failed an EKG and then a stress test. I was sent to a cardiologist who wants be to have an angiogram this week. My fear is I am going to have this procedure done on my heart and it is pleurisy again. No one will make a pleurisy diagnosis. I don't want to refuse to have the angiogram and then find out it was a heart condition and have something even worse happen but certainly don't want to go through a procedure like this unnecessarily.

Comment from: Souxie56, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

I got my annual flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine that are available this year and woke up at 1:30 am with severe pain in the left side and difficulty breathing. No warning whatsoever. I got Celebrex which did nothing. After 4 days the doctor put me on a steroid pack and Tylenol 3 with codeine and I am greatly improved, but not near pain free. I have had pleurisy several times and this treatment has worked for me every time. I asked the doctor if it was possible it was an allergic reaction to the vaccinations and he said if it was, though it is extremely rare. I am hesitating to get the chest x-rays since I am improving so well. My insurance will no longer cover the cost of these x-rays.

Comment from: Lexibics, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 29

I suffer from recurring pleurisy. Each time it starts with extreme exhaustion followed by acute pain. I have now had just about every test done to find the cause but the doctors can't find one and one doctor told me I was just unlucky. I have just experienced my 9th episode in 3 years. It is an extremely painful condition and the fatigue is the worst I have ever had to deal with. I am now waiting to see the head consultant at a pleural clinic at my local hospital.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Loulou, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 16

I just have been diagnosed with pleurisy, I usually do not like to go to see doctors but I have severe pain on the chest and cannot laugh, cough, sneeze and lying down is the most painful thing to do. I tried pain killer and it helped a little bit. The doctor asked to have some X-rays and the lungs are clear, no broken rib, the sensation of the pain will let you think you have certainly a broken rib but the results came negative. The lector prescribe a shot of steroid which she said will help the inflammation of the layers around the lungs to shrink, I do not know what is the length of time the pleurisy needs to heel.

Comment from: Carol, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

I am in my second battle with pleurisy. It started in November 2014 with a sensation that my entire right rib cage was being crushed. I've gotten better with antibiotics, only to have the pain flare up in as little as two days after the last antibiotic pill. Decades ago I suffered second degree burns. The pain of pleurisy rivals that of being burned. Percocet works for me. My primary care doctor is great about giving consults. I will see an infection specialist soon. I have drawn a few clunkers, and also some great ones. Be your own advocate, be persistent, and learn what you can. I appreciate that I am not alone in having multiple battles with pleurisy.

Comment from: Kat, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 30

I woke up the day before my mom's birthday with a dull chest pain in the middle of my chest. It got worse throughout the day. The next day, I begged her to take me to the doctor. I'm not one to go see doctors. That was in June. After a week of sharp stabbing chest pains I got a VQ scan. No blood clot in my lungs so must be pleurisy doctor said. A week after that, he gives me hydrocodone and an anti-inflammatory. Two days later, I'm back. Nothing made the pain stop. It only made it worse. I went to a different doctor. She gave me an up-draft and inhaler. Neither helped so I was in the emergency room (ER) for pain and couldn't breathe. They gave me hydrocodone again. I lived with the pain for a few more days then my second doctor called and told me to go to the ER because my white count was high. Once again they gave me hydrocodone for pain; even though I still had some left from the last time. Today, July 28, it's been a month and 4 days since I first went to the doctor and I'm still sick and getting worse. My pain is now all over my chest, back, sides, shoulders, stomach area, and I can't life my right arm without my chest hurting horribly bad I'm crying.

Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 18

Late in the work day I started to feel a stabbing pain in my chest. The pain was not severe, but I knew something was not right. That night the pain increased. I could not sleep because every other breath was painful. The deeper the breath the more pain I felt. For a few minutes I thought I could be having a minor heart attack, but the location of the pain was at the top of my rib cage, on the right hand side, just below my chest, nowhere near my heart. Early the next morning the pain had not subsided, so I went to the hospital for treatment. The only symptom I could provide the doctor was the stabbing pain during deep breaths. He took first checked for inflamed organs then ordered chest x-rays. He found a tiny area between the two linings where fluid was built up. He decided to treat it as if it was pneumonia. I was prescribed ibuprofen, anti-biotics, and pain medicine.

Comment from: EP, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: August 17

I'm 13 year old boy. About a week after my appendectomy in May I had flu like symptoms and a dry cough for a week. A week later I had dull pains in my chest the GP could not find reason for it. Pediatrician ordered EKG and heart sonar, all normal. Pains worsened to sharp, stabbing pains. Last week I had severe chest pain and shortness of breath, pain under my arm and around to my back. I thought for sure that I am the first child ever to get a heart attack. My Mom took me to GP he could not find reason for symptoms and then she took me to 2nd GP who diagnosed me with pleurisy after a stethoscope exam. Bloodtest's revealed nothing. I drink Cepodem antibiotics for possible bacterial infection, and get lots of rest and eat healthy foods. I have relief when I sit in a bent over position with my chest on my knees. I try to take deep breaths even if this is more painful to prevent shortness of breath. I get more relief from 2 Suncodin tablets per day than from Ibuprofen. I'm waiting to get better. . EP

Comment from: Marie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I was diagnosed in the ER. I thought I was having a heart attack since the pain was on the right side of my left lung. I went through all the tests to rule out a heart attack and then $1500.00 later the doctor said it was pleurisy. He sent me home with 800 mg ibuprophen and a prescription pain medicine and told me to stay in bed for 4 days. That was about 5-6 years ago. I was 31-32 years old. I did smoke for a long time but I quite when I was 29. Since then I have had Pleurisy 4 times. The 4th time is right now. With the 2-4 time I have not been sick before getting it. It just woke me up at 4:00 a.m. this morning. I don't have health insurance so I just take 4 200mg ibuprophen 4 times a day and rest as much as possible until the pain goes away. I was told by a friend that once you have pleurisy it never goes away. It just lies dormant in your body and you have reoccurring episodes.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I am 22 years old and I am going on a month dealing with pleurisy complications. I had surgery to remove a rib up by my neck related to a car accident about a month ago and had a minor complications. I got a nicked lung that resulted in a small collapse in my lung. I bounced back fine and was released from the hospital the next day. About 2 weeks later though, I still didn't feel myself. I had horrible muscle spasms in my back and side and was so winded and out of breath. I started running low grade fevers and decided to go to the ER. They did a chest CT and found that I had significant build-up of blood and a clot surrounding my left lung. I had a chest tube placed immediately in the ER (extremely painful) and was in the hospital for 3 days before they took the tube out and let me return home. After being home for only 36 hours, my symptoms returned with aggression and I was back at the hospital, this time I had so much fluid build-up (as a result of inflammation from my chest tube) that they decided to operate. I had surgery 5 days ago to scope my chest cavity and drain a quart of fluid from my chest. They left a chest tube in for 2 1/2 days and I came home 2 days ago. I am struggling with continuous pain from the large incisions in my side from the 2 chest tubes and still feel weak and short of breath. Be persistent. It is scary and the symptoms can be fairly non-descript. You know your body best. I have learned that from this experience. I am 22 and I think that my doctors take me much more seriously now that they see how critically sick I was. Hopefully I am out of the woods now, but I have the battle scars to show the painful experience that I went through.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: rhino1, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 26

I am a male in my early 40s. I woke up this morning with pain in my chest left side especially sharp when breathing in. I have often felt this throughout my life, but in short bouts maybe 10-30 minutes. I would just keep trying to breathe in until it would go away. This one went on for 4 hours and got me thinking it may be related to my heart, especially since I smoke 1.5 packs/day. My wife took me to the hospital, by then pain was much worse and felt like it was spreading. After an EKG, blood work and x rays I was told all looked fine and that I most likely had pleurisy. After hearing what this was it made perfect sense. When I would breathe in or lay on my right side it felt as though something sharp was poking my lung and was very painful. I was given some inflammatory medicine via IV and given scripts for ibuprofen and Percocet and was told it would heal itself in about 1 week. I was also given instructions to drink a lot of water and get extra rest and to work on breathing in deep and stretching every hour while awake. It has now been about 3 hours since I was released (4 hours in ER) and the sharp pains have greatly subsided but am tired and worn out from the day's event.

Comment from: msdick, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

I just got out of the hospital today. A couple of days ago I felt a dull pain in my left chest. It was just an uncomfortable felling like a pulled muscle. I wanted to reach in there and stretch it out. Then it got to where it felt like a mass in my lung, like a ball or something. I then got real sharp pains when I would breathe in deep, the pain shot up to my shoulders and under my arm, so of course I think I am having a heart attack. They did all the blood tests, EKG's and things that you have all discussed. No heart problems at all. They say its dry pleurisy and it is like sand paper. All I know is it is very painful and constant pain. I am wondering now why so many of you got antibiotics and I didn't? They gave me strong Ibuprophen and Oxycodone?

Comment from: lissie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 05

I am 25 years old and 5 months pregnant. My first sign of pleurisy was heart attack symptoms. The chest pain hit me very suddenly and felt as though I was having a heart attack. My left arm was going numb and I got very sweaty. Being pregnant and going threw this was a challenge for me. They first did an EKG, then they gave me morphine. I had an ultrasound to my heart and radiation to my lungs to detect any blood clots. All test results came back normal. Pleurisy was my diagnosis, although no one has told me yet what caused this horrible ordeal.

Comment from: Lew, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 05

I am finishing my third week with pleurisy. It is getting better but slowly. I have tightness in my chest, occasionally shortness of breath, and increasing fatigue as the day progresses. My doctor said it is a viral infection that will go away. I'm still waiting for a good day. The additional complication in my case is that I told the doctor I was having tightness in my chest and difficulty breathing. So he put me in the hospital overnight for a bunch of cardiac tests. No heart problems. I complained of tightness not pain but, pleurisy can mimic some cardiac symptoms. Be aware.

Comment from: Lam78, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

My first run-in with pleurisy was in 2006. I first noticed that I had shortness of breath. My chest was heavy, as if someone was standing on it, and I was in a lot of pain (sharp and consistent). I went to the emergency room because I couldn't stand the pain anymore. They ordered a CT scan of my chest, and it revealed fluid in my right lung. They were baffled as to why a healthy-looking 28-year-old had fluid in her lung. A pulmonary doctor was assigned to me, and he decided to drain the fluid and have it tested. I was also sent for a PET scan that revealed many tiny cysts in my lungs. The results came back as lymphangioleiomyomatosis, also known as (LAM), and it only affects woman. Other symptoms include: pneumothorax, chyle effusions, and shortness of breath. Hang in there; be persistent to find out what your body is telling you. It could save your life.

Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 08

I've had pleurisy three times now. I am in good physical shape and do not smoke regularly, but I will partake in a cigar once in a blue moon. The first occurrence required a trip to the emergency room while I was out of town. Pain started in my middle back and then moved around to my lungs. Eventually, it covered my whole lung and mid-to-low back area. The ER doctor gave me a big shot of Torredol and the pain and condition subsided within an hour. The two occurrences since have been similar. I have growing and spreading pain over the course of about four to five hours. The treatment was the same on round two and worked. Treatment on round three included a steroid "D Pack" following the shot. The steroid made me very jittery and light-headed. I believe all instances were brought on by exposure to either smoke or cleaning agents and a high-moisture environment.

Comment from: IreneP, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

I had a persistent, bad cough for too long -- almost two months! But it started with an allergy to mold, as I was in contact with a lot of mold spores, which gave me asthma and started the coughing. I had bad pains in my back and the coughing was so hard, I had to go to my doctor. She listened extensively and heard the “rubbing.” That is how my pleurisy was diagnosed.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Trent, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: December 02

I'm 24. I play basketball on a competitive level, so I am very fit. I don't smoke, and I rarely drink. I often get muscular pains due to hard exercise, but after four sleepless nights of sharp, stabbing pain in my chest, shoulders, and neck, I went to the doctor today who diagnosed me with pleurisy. He perscribed me antibiotics, so I hope I will be out of pain ASAP!

Comment from: ann, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

X-ray showed pleural effusion then CT, then I had thoracentesis.

Comment from: Julia, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I have been told I have pleurisy after seeing 3 different doctors! The pain in my chest is excruciating feels like heart attack had this now for 6 weeks and not improving! Have lost weight have no appetite doing the slightest thing makes me break out in a sweat and the pain! Anyone got any suggestions? I'm at my wits end!

Comment from: Momof5, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 28

If you even suspect pleurisy, get thee to a doctor! I started with a cough from an allergic reaction. The physician's assistant (PA) said, "Take Zyrtec." About two weeks later, I had bronchitis and a big case of the run-arounds from the doctor's office, who phoned in a script for antibiotics, body unseen. Two weeks after that, the pain has dropped to my lower lungs, and feels like I'm being stabbed in my back and in front, just under my right breast. Finally, I got past the receptionist and nurse to see a different PA, who did a spirometer. I couldn't even get enough air to blow it. I got the nebulizer treatment (helped a bit) and was sent for X-rays. Four days later, I had not heard from my doctor and the inhaler was useless, as I couldn't inhale. Finally, I ended up in the ER. The doctor there said that two months with these symptoms was too long, and ran another chest X-ray and did a blood test. There was no sign of an infection and my lungs were totally clean. But my eosinophil count was “off the chart.” So, just because you have no signs of infection does not mean that it is not pleurisy. Don't ignore it. Don't try to self-medicate. Don't take “no” from a nurse or PA. I now have a prescription for prednisone, Tylenol with Codeine, albuterol, Claritin, and a search for a new doctor's office. Be proactive – you would if it was your child who was sick!

Comment from: Justcrazed, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

When I was diagnosed with pleurisy, they did a CT scan and X-rays. The doctor was originally checking for a pulmonary embolism (clot). Since my diagnosis, I have had it three times in six months.

Comment from: lfinniss, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I had pleurisy three months ago on my side. I had pain for two weeks in my chest and it suddenly got worse, like a heart attack. I went to the hospital, and they ran all the tests for a heart attack and blood clots but found nothing. They are presuming it is pleurisy. They did not give me antibiotics, just serious pain medication. I want to know what caused it and what I can do to prevent it in the future. I am still in severe pain and am finding it hard to work. I had chest pain, pain in the shoulder blades, weakness in the arm, and pain inhaling.

Comment from: lindsayc_33, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I was diagnosed in the emergency room. I've been having horrible chest pains for about a month, right in the middle of my chest. Toward the end of the day, I had shortness of breath and sharp shooting pains down the middle of my chest. I let it go, thinking it was a pulled muscle or something. Then it got really bad one night to the point where I was crying, and I never cry about pain. So, I went in to the emergency room and six hours later, I went home with two different pain medications ... and pleurisy. I'm only 16! I'm just planning to take my pain medication, stay home from school and work, and sleep it off. I'm supposed to go back to the doctor in about a week to get it checked again. It's horrible, but I'm hanging in there.

Comment from: Girl Friday, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 03

I have had a reoccurring case of pleurisy that was initially diagnosed in the emergency room and treated with antibiotics. The second time, about two years later, I went to an emergency care facility in the middle of the night and was put on a nebulizer and given an inhaler to take home with me along with antibiotics.

Comment from: winchy woman, 45-54 Female Published: March 05

This is my second time to have pleurisy. I had it the first time about five years ago. It began with a bad cough from a cold. I have it again but no cold this time. I feel it was from beginning to work out at the gym. I could feel it pulling in my side. The best thing to remember is to take deep breaths. Short breathing, though less painful, allows more fluid to settle in your lungs, making you cough even more. So remember to breathe, and sleep with pillows under your shoulders.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Rufus, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 11

I had a really bad cold about four weeks ago. I was then left with a stupid, annoying cough. I didn't feel it warranted a trip to the doctor, so I just dealt with it. Then, this Saturday, I started to have pains in my chest, almost like a cracked rib. I had stabbing pain when I moved, coughed, sneezed, laughed or breathed. I went to work Monday and was in so much pain that I made an appointment to see the nurse. She referred me to the doctor who said it was pleurisy. He sent me to the hospital for a chest X-ray. In the mean time, I am on antibiotics. I have never known such pain. It's worse when I lie down or sit down. I just can't get comfortable.

Comment from: Holly, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I had throbbing pain in my chest and it hurt to breathe. The pain would increase whenever my blood pressure increased, but I had no other problems, such as a cough. They tested my heart and it was fine; EKG, chest X-ray, etc. and she diagnosed me with pleurisy. I am 24, so they were pretty confident that it was not a heart attack, but it is very painful. They think that I had a cold that traveled into my chest and infected it.

Comment from: daddysgirl925, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I was getting a really sharp pain in my chest for about a month. I was at work and a nurse I knew asked me if I was okay. I said I had a really sharp pain in my chest and it got worse as I breathed in, so he took me down to the emergency room. They hooked me up to all kind of machines and gave me an x-ray of my chest. They told me it was pleurisy, but what I'm wondering is why they only gave me pain medicine and not antibiotics too. I'm still in pain and my chest feels really tight. I guess I'm going to have to go to another doctor.

Comment from: dierseve, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

After blood, urine, EKG, x-rays, stethoscope exam, respiration, etc. everything was ok, except for a raised temperature. Then the doctor entered the room, and pressed on the chest in certain areas, that proved to be very painful. This is how the diagnosis was made. Pain killers and relaxants, along with moist heating pads, were prescribed. Activity brings on pain. It has been 4 days, no improvement.

Comment from: 55-64 (Patient) Published: August 17

At 8:30 one evening I felt a twinge in my right side under my arm and down to my waist. At 3:00 AM I awoke with horrible pain. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't move without pain. I walked around and perspired for 3 hours before husband woke and took me to the hospital. EKG, CT, Blood work, X-ray all were negative. The doctor sent me home after two shots of morphine and one of Toradol with prescription for pain. No Diagnosis. Once home, I started checking on the computer. I have recently had a very bad upper respiratory infection, been on a 2 month trip, and I have Sjögren's Syndrome. All are perfect reasons to suspect Pleurisy. It has been 3 days and while the pain is decreasing slowly, I am having more and more shortness of breath with any type of movement.

Comment from: mags, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

I have just been diagnosed with pleurisy. I am prone to bronchitis and the doc thinks this is how I got the pleurisy. I work in a school and children are always bringing germs in. This is the first time (and last I hope) that I have been this ill with what I thought was a bad cold.

Comment from: Chloe, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I was diagnosed with Lupus about 10 years ago. I occasionally have what my doctor calls a "flare" and I will have joint pain, mostly my hands and knees, and I will have chest pain, which is pleuritis.

Comment from: 45-54 Female Published: October 09

I have just been diagnosed with pleurisy through chest and side examination with stethoscope. I am awaiting results of chest X ray. My worse time is at night when I try to lay down, too painful, I have to sleep propped up with pillows. Breathing, coughing, and yawning even burping all hurt so much. It's like a knife been twisted round in my ribs.

Comment from: Annie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

I woke up ill in the middle of the night and began vomiting. I couldn't breathe and felt like I was having the classic symptoms of a woman's heart attack. I ended up in the hospital where they found a pleural effusion on a cat scan and also a bleed in my stomach (which was causing the vomiting). They did not drain or biopsy the fluid from my lung and it still hurts but in a nutshell, it felt like a heart attack and was very painful to breathe.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Josie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

I was just diagnosed as possibly having pleurisy but was just put on a C-Pap.

Understanding COPD
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