What is it?

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the tissue that covers the lungs and separates it from the chest wall. The pleura consists of two layers- the inner and outer pleural layers. Between the two layers, there is a space filled with a small amount of liquid, allowing the lung to expand and contract. When there is inflammation of the pleura, there is friction between both layers, resulting in pain while breathing. While holding the breath, the pain stops. Pleurisy may be caused due to viral, bacterial or fungal infection, autoimmune disorders, lung cancer, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, trauma, and certain medications.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms include chest pain that worsens when breathing, coughing or sneezing, shortness of breath, cough and fever.


Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include blood tests, imaging tests of the chest, thoracocentesis, which refers to fluid removal in order to send it to lab analysis and thoracoscopy, in which a tiny camera is inserted into the chest wall in order to get a direct view and search for abnormalities or to take a tissue for biopsy.


Treatment may include pain relievers and anti- inflammatory drugs, and other medications and procedures depending on the underlying cause.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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