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Pleurisy - pleuritis
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Pleurisy - pleuritis

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ASTHMA & RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Respiratory System

Pleurisy occurs when the double membrane (pleura) that lines the chest cavity and surrounds each of your lungs becomes inflamed. The condition, also called pleuritis, typically causes sharp pain, almost always during the act of breathing.

One layer of the pleura, which is just a few cells thick, overlies each lung. The other layer lines the inner chest wall. When you breathe in, the large muscle separating the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity (diaphragm) contracts and your chest wall expands, causing your lungs to expand. The two layers of pleura are like two pieces of smooth satin rubbing against each other with almost no friction, allowing your lungs to expand and contract without any resistance from the lining of the chest wall.

Treatment

The most important goal in relieving pleurisy or pleural effusions is treatment of the underlying condition that's causing your signs and symptoms. For example, if the cause of pleurisy is a bacterial infection of your lung (pneumonia), an antibiotic may control the infection. But, for pleurisy due to a viral infection, antibiotics won't be effective. The outcome of treatment may depend on the seriousness of the underlying disease.

Over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help relieve some of the signs and symptoms of pleurisy. Prescription codeine may help control a cough as well as the pain. If you have a large buildup of fluid, you may need to stay in the hospital to have the fluid drained over a period of several days through a tube inserted into your chest.

Most cases of pleuritis of unknown cause heal with time.

 

Pleurisy > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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Last Modified : 03/15/08 01:51 AM