Pleurisy is mostly caused by pneumonia. The inflammation spreads from the surface of the lungs to the tissue between the lungs and the ribcage (pleura). Pain when breathing in and out is typical, sometimes patients are short of breath. This disease should be treated by a doctor.
Causes and treatment
- Pleurisy usually occurs during or after a pneumonia attack
- Lung infarction (lung embolism)
- Cancer (e.g. lung cancer)
- Autoimmune disorder
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- Listening to the lungs (stethoscope)
- Blood tests
- Ultrasound (sonography)
- CT scan (computed tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Treatment of the cause (e.g. antibiotics for pneumonia)
- Physiotherapy (special breathing exercises)
- Small operation (insertion of a sterile needle to drain the fluid
What can I do myself?
- Rest your body
- Exercise and a balanced diet strengthen the immune system and can help prevent infections
When to see a doctor?
- Persistent shooting chest pains that get worse when inhaling/exhaling and coughing
- Persistent shortness of breath