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What is Pleurisy?

  • The pleura is a two layered sac that holds the lungs and separates them from the chest wall, diaphragm, and heart.
  • Pleurisy results from an inflammation of this sac.
  • The pleura that lines the inside of the chest is called the parietal pleura. The pleura that covers the lungs is called the visceral pleura. If you are healthy, the pleura is separated by a thin layer of fluid. This lets the lungs expand and contract easily during breathing.
  • The inflammation that occurs with pleurisy can cause pain with breathing and may even cause a large amount of fluid to collect in the pleural sac.
  • Pleurisy can go away on its own or worsen so that fluid has to be drained from around the lungs.
  • Some people develop scar tissue called adhesions after they have pleurisy. They then have chronic pain or shortness of breath.

Pleurisy Causes

There are many causes of pleurisy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/29/2015
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Pleurisy:

Pleurisy - Symptoms

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Pleurisy (Pleuritis) - Diagnosis

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Pleurisy (Pleuritis) - Treatments

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How do Doctors Diagnose Pleurisy?

Doctors take a number of steps to diagnose the potentially serious condition of Pleurisy. The doctor will ask the patient about their symptoms, such as chest pain and muscle aches. Also, the doctor will check a patient's body temperature and tap on his or her chest to listen for a particular sound.

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