Condition 101 About Pleurisy

What is the definition of Pleurisy?

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.

What are the alternative names for Pleurisy?

Pleuritis; Pleuritic chest pain

What are the causes for Pleurisy?

Pleurisy may develop when you have lung inflammation due to infection, such as a viral infection, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.

It may also occur with:

  • Asbestos-related disease
  • Certain cancers
  • Chest trauma
  • Blood clot (pulmonary embolus)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus

What are the symptoms for Pleurisy?

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:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pain with deep breaths

What are the current treatments for Pleurisy?

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.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Pleurisy?

Recovery depends on the cause of the pleurisy.

What are the possible complications for Pleurisy?

Health problems that may develop from pleurisy include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fluid buildup between chest wall and lung
  • Complications from the original illness

When should I contact a medical professional for Pleurisy?

Call your provider if you have symptoms of pleurisy. If you have breathing difficulty or your skin turns blue, seek medical care right away.

How do I prevent Pleurisy?

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.

Top Global Doctors For Pleurisy

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This case report describes a 77 year-old patient with inflammatory breast cancer.
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Clinical Trials For Pleurisy

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Device
  • Participants: 128
  • Start Date: March 9, 2018
Automated Oxygen Administration in Patients With Hypoxemic Pneumonia and Pleuropneumonia