Pleurisy Pleurisy Pleurisy, also called pleuritis, is an inflammation of the pleura — the moist, double-layered membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the rib cage. The condition can make breathing extremely painful and, sometimes, is associated with the development of pleural effusion, in which the area between the membrane’s layers, called the pleural space, fills with excess fluid. Viral infection is probably the most common cause of pleurisy. Other diseases that can cause pleurisy are lung infections, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, and other diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and pulmonary embolisms. Congestive heart failure is a common cause of pleural effusion.
Other causes include chest injuries and cancer. Pleurisy and pleural effusion are generally only as serious as the underlying disease. If you have either of these conditions, you may already be undergoing treatment for the underlying disease; if not, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms Pleurisy: . Severe, fleeting, sharp pain in your chest, often on one side only, when breathing deeply, coughing, moving or sneezing.
. Severe chest pain that goes away when you hold your breath. Pleural Effusion: . Shortness of breath. . A dry cough.
Causes The double-layered pleura protects and lubricates the surface of the lungs as they inflate and deflate within the rib cage. Normally, a thin, fluid-filled gap — the pleural space — allows the two layers of the pleural membrane to slide gently past each other. But when these layers become inflamed by the conditions listed above, their roughened surfaces rub painfully together like two pieces of sandpaper with every breath, sneeze and cough. This condition is known as pleurisy. In some cases of pleurisy, excess fluid seeps into the pleural space, resulting in pleural effusion.
This fluid buildup usually has a lubricating effect, relieving the pain associated with pleurisy as it reduces friction between the membrane’s layers. But at the same time, the added fluid puts tremendous pressure on the lungs, reducing their ability to move freely and causing shortness of breath. In some cases of pleural effusion, this excess liquid becomes infected, causing a condition known as empyema. A pleural effusion can also occur without pleurisy, as is the case in congestive heart failure. Diagnostic and Test Procedures To diagnose pleurisy, a physician will listen to your chest through a stethoscope as you breathe.
If this examination reveals pleural friction rub — the abrasive sound of the pleura’s two layers sliding against each other — the diagnosis is clear. Pleural friction rub produces a scraping, raspy sound that occurs at the end of your inhalation and the beginning of your exhalation, and it comes from the area directly over the pleural inflammation. A decrease in breath sounds and a change in their quality may allow your doctor to diagnose a pleural effusion. Your doctor may also take X-rays of your chest, which will be normal if you have pleurisy but show the fluid due to a pleural effusion. If there is fluid present, your doctor may draw a sample of pleural fluid for analysis. After injecting your back or chest with a local anesthetic, the physician will use a syringe to extract the fluid. The doctor will run tests on the sample to determine the underlying cause of the fluid buildup.
Treatment Conventional medicine usually treats the underlying disease that causes pleurisy or pleural effusion. In some cases of pleural effusion, however, excess fluid must be drained. There are also treatments to help relieve some of the discomfort associated with these conditions. Conventional Medicine In addition to antibiotics and other appropriate medications aimed at treating the underlying disease, your physician will probably prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesics, such as aspirin, to remedy the inflammation. Sometimes, a codeine-based cough syrup will be prescribed to control a painful cough. In the case of pleural effusion, your physician will direct treatment towards the underlying cause of the fluid. If the amount of pleural fluid is excessive, the doctor may drain it through a tube inserted in your chest, a procedure that requires hospitalization.
A lung injury or infection can lead to inflammation of the pleura, a thin, two-ply membrane that encases the lungs and lines the inside of the rib cage. Between the layers of this membrane, is a fluid-filled space that normally cushions the contact between them during respiration. When inflamed, however, the surfaces can become roughened and tender; breathing forces them to rub together, intensifying the pain. Bibliography This is a project i did on the disease Pleuisy. Have fun. Science.