Pleurisy – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is pleurisy?
Pleurisy (also called pleuritis) is an inflammation of the tissues that line the lungs and chest (pleura). This condition results in chest pain when you take a deep breath or a cough.
What causes pleurisy?
Pleurisy occurs when you have lung inflammation due to infection, such as a viral infection, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.
The following conditions can also cause pleurisy:
- Chest trauma
- A blood clot (pulmonary embolus)
- Asbestos-related disease
- Certain Cancers
- Rheumatoid arthritis
What are the symptoms of pleurisy?
Chest pain is the main symptom of pleurisy. This pain usually occurs when you take a deep breath in or out or a cough. Some people experience pain in the shoulder.
Chest pain gets worse with deep breathing, coughing, and chest movement.
Pleurisy can cause abnormal collection of fluid inside the chest. This can make breathing harder. It can lead to the development of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
How is pleurisy diagnosed?
The doctor will review your symptoms and hear sounds in your lungs and chest with a stethoscope. Your doctor may hear a rough, grating sound called a friction rub. This abnormal sound (friction rub) occurs when affected lungs rub together with each other. When pleurisy occurs, the normally smooth surfaces lining the lung (the pleura) become rough and produce this abnormal sound.
The doctor may order the following tests for diagnosis:
- X-ray of the chest
- CT scan of the chest
- Ultrasound of the chest
- Thoracentesis (removal of pleural fluid with a needle)
How is pleurisy treated?
Treatment depends on the cause of pleurisy.
The doctor may surgically drain infected fluid from the lungs.
If the inflammation is caused by bacterial infection, the doctor will treat it with antibiotics.
Viral infections normally run their course without treatment.
The doctor may recommend taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce pain.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.