What are the symptoms? continued...
But this type of chest pain can be caused by conditions
that do not affect the pleura, such as chest muscle strain and
If a viral infection is
causing your pleurisy, you may or may not have common viral symptoms, such as
fever, headache, and muscle aches.
The inflammation of the pleura
sometimes causes fluid to build up in the pleural cavity (pleural effusion). You may have less pain after this happens, because the fluid
prevents the two layers of the pleura from rubbing together. If there is a
large amount of fluid, it may prevent the lung from expanding when you breathe
in. This can make it hard to breathe. Other symptoms of pleural effusion
include fever, chest pain, and a dry cough.
Pleural effusion may occur without pleurisy in
other conditions, such as
heart failure or liver or kidney disease.
How is pleurisy diagnosed?
health problems can lead to pleurisy, so your doctor will look for what is causing
your inflammation. He or she will use a
physical exam and a
chest X-ray to look for signs of conditions that may
cause pleuritic chest pain, such as:
If your doctor thinks your pleurisy may be caused by an
autoimmune disease such as
rheumatoid arthritis, he or she may do blood tests.
If you have pleural effusion, your doctor may use a needle to
remove some of the fluid from the pleura. This procedure is called
thoracentesis. The fluid is then studied, to help your doctor find
out the cause of the effusion.
See pictures of pleural effusion and thoracentesis .
How is pleurisy treated?
The treatment for
pleurisy depends on the cause. For example, if a bacterial infection is the
cause, you will probably need an
antibiotic. If a
pulmonary embolism is present, you may
get medicine to dissolve the clot or
to prevent future blood clots (anticoagulants).