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The pleura is a layer of tissue around the lungs. The inner layer is attached to the lungs. The outer layer is attached to the chest wall. Pleurisy is swelling of the pleura. It can cause chest pain and make it hard to breathe.
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Pleurisy may be caused by many things including:
Things that raise your risk are:
Pleurisy can cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. A diagnosis may be made based on the pain. Tests may be done to look for a cause.
Pictures may be taken of your chest. This can be done with:
Other tests may include:
The cause will need to be treated. This may include medicine or surgery. Treatment will help to manage pain until the swelling has been cleared. Options include:
Pleurisy may be prevented with:
American Lung Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Kass SM, Reamy BV. Pleurisy. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(9):1357-1364.
Pleurisy. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Pleurisy.aspx. Accessed August 29, 2018.
Pleural effusion. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary-disorders/mediastinal-and-pleural-disorders/pleural-effusion. Updated October 2017. Accessed August 29, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD Last Updated: 1/14/2019