Inflammation of the pleurae, the membranes surrounding the lungs. Symptoms include pain in the chest, chest tenderness, cough, and shortness of breath. The chest pain is sharp and aggravated by breathing. A physician can often hear with a stethoscope the friction generated by the rubbing of the two inflamed layers of pleurae with each breath. The causes of pleurisy include lung infections, collagen vascular diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, cancer of the lung or pleura, heart failure, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), obstruction of lymph channels, trauma such as rib fractures, drugs such as Dilantin, pancreatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver. Removal of pleural fluid, when present, with a needle and syringe is key in diagnosing the cause of pleurisy and can also relieve the pain and shortness of breath associated with pleurisy. If the fluid is infected, treatment involves use of antibiotics and drainage of the fluid. In severe cases, in which there are large amounts of pus and scar tissue (adhesions), there may be a need for decortication (opening the pleural space and removing portions of one or two ribs in order to clear scar tissue and remove pus and debris). Also known as pleuritis.

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    Inflammation of the pleura which may be caused by infection, injury or tumor. When the pleura becomes inflamed, it can produce more than the normal amount of fluid, causing a pleural effusion.

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    A procedure that causes the membranes around the lungs to stick together and prevents the buildup of fluid in the space between the membranes (pleural space). Pleurodesis is done in cases of severe recurrent pleural effusions (outpourings of fluid around the lungs) to prevent the reaccumulation of the fluid. During pleurodesis, an irritant is instilled […]

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