Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest (the pleura) that leads to chest pain when you take a breath or cough.
Pleuritis; Pleuritic chest pain
Pleurisy may develop when you have lung inflammation due to infection, such as a viral infection, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.
It may also occur with:
The main symptom of pleurisy is pain in the chest. This pain often occurs when you take a deep breath in or out, or cough. Some people feel the pain in the shoulder.
Deep breathing, coughing, and chest movement make the pain worse.
Pleurisy can cause fluid to collect inside the chest. As a result, the following symptoms can occur:
Treatment depends on the cause of the pleurisy. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. Surgery may be needed to drain infected fluid from the lungs. Viral infections normally run their course without medicines.
Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce pain.
Recovery depends on the cause of the pleurisy.
Health problems that may develop from pleurisy include:
Call your provider if you have symptoms of pleurisy. If you have breathing difficulty or your skin turns blue, seek medical care right away.
Early treatment of bacterial respiratory infections can prevent pleurisy.
Fenster BE, Lee-Chiong TL, Gebhart GF, Matthay RA. Chest pain. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 31.
McCool FD. Diseases of the diaphragm, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 92.