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Pleurisy (Pleural Effusion) Symptoms, Duration, and Treatments

What is Pleurisy?

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  • 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.

What Causes Pleurisy?

There are many causes of pleurisy.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Pleurisy (Pain, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment):

Pleurisy - Symptoms

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Pleurisy (Pleuritis) - Diagnosis

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Pleurisy (Pleuritis) - Treatments

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Lupus and Pleurisy

More than 50% of people with lupus have some sort of lung disease. Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lung) is the most common lung problem. This can lead to chest pain and shortness of breath ,and can be confused with blood clots in the lung (pulmonary embolism) or pneumonia.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pleural Effusion »

Approximately 1 million pleural effusions are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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