Pleurisy is a condition that is caused when the pleura (moist membrane surrounding the lungs and rib cage) is inflamed. Pleurisy or Pleuritis, as it is otherwise referred to, is characterized by fluid accumulation at the site of the inflammation. This fluid makes it difficult to breathe and leads to shortness of breath and cough. It also lays pressure on the lunds and reduced their ability to move freely. Most often, pleurisy is caused by viral infection. It can be the result of lung or heart disease. Diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and rheumatic disease. Pulmonary embolism or rheumatoid arthritis can also bring on an attack of pleurisy. Primary pleurisy occurs when there is inflammation of the pleural tissues from a direct infection or injury on them. On the other hand, secondary pleurisy occurs when it is the result of any other chest disease. Severe pain in the chest is one of the main symptoms of pleurisy. The pain is felt over the chest at the site of the pleural inflammation. Chest pain becomes acute during deep breathing, coughing and sneezing. Other symptoms of pleuritis are dry cough and fever. Pain may also be felt in the neck, shoulder or abdomen.
Diagnostic tests such as chest x-ray and chest ultrasound are used to detect the degree and extent of pleuritis. Thoracentesis involves collection of fluid from the pleural cavity. Removal of this fluid aids easier breathing. A pulse oximeter allows a physician to check the amount of oxygen in the blood. ECG may show any heart-related conditions that could be the cause for pleuritis. Sometimes a sputum sample is taken for analysis.
A patient suffering from pleurisy may be administered oxygen by a mask or nasal prong to facilitate breathing. If a bacterial infection is the cause, it has to be treated with suitable antibiotics. Inflammation of the pleura is reduced with the help of anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone drugs. Often the patient is advised to rest and limit the strain on the lungs. Painkillers can help in alleviating pain and discomfort.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 23, 2019