Pleurisy is a medical condition that affects the lungs. Each of our lungs is encased in a thin membrane, known as the visceral pleura. This is a protective lining that protects the lungs against shocks and trauma. The chest wall, against which the lungs rest, is also lined with a similar protective membrane known as the parietal pleura. Since the two membranes are constantly in contact with each other, they are lubricated with a fluid in order to prevent friction between them. In pleurisy, the two membranes are not properly lubricated and this causes a lot of inflammation. This inflammation may be caused by various reasons such as infections of the upper respiratory tract. If the two membranes are irritated, the production of lubricant ceases and the membranes rub and grate against each other. This causes increasing discomfort, pain and breathing problems. The pain and discomfort usually increases when you cough, sneeze or take in deep breaths. The inflammation of the two membranes may also cause pleural effusion, which is a build up of fluids between the two membranes.

Apart from pleurisy, there are many other pleural disorders.

  • Pneumothorax: A condition in which air and gas builds up between the pleural layers.
  • Pleural Effusion: A condition in which fluids build up between the pleural layers.
  • Hemothorax: A condition in which blood builds up between the pleural layers.

Alternative Names: There are several alternative names to the condition. These include pleuritis and pleuritic chest pain.

Frequently asked questions
  1. F.R.G. Heaf, Clifford Hillingworth, The management of pleurisy and pleural effusion cases, British Journal of Tuberculosis and Diseases of the Chest, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 1944, Pages 10-13, ISSN 0366-0869, 10.1016/S0366-0869(44)80023-5.
  2. Tariq Ansari, Steven Idell, MANAGEMENT OF UNDIAGNOSED PERSISTENT PLEURAL EFFUSIONS, Clinics in Chest Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 2, 1 June 1998, Pages 407-417, ISSN 0272-5231, 10.1016/S0272-5231(05)70087-3.