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Pleural diseases

Pleurisy (pleural inflammation)
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the lungs, with subsequent pain. Inflammation occurs when an infection or damaging agent irritates the pleural surface. As a consequence, sharp chest pains are the primary symptom of pleurisy. Pleurisy cases are classified either as having pleural effusion or as being "dry." Pleural effusion is more common and refers to an accumulation of fluid within the pleural space; dry pleurisy is inflammation without fluid build-up. Less pain occurs with pleural effusion because the fluid forces the membrane surfaces apart.
Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
A pneumothorax is collection of air or gas in the pleural space (the space surrounding the lungs). See also Spontaneous pneumothorax, traumatic pneumothorax, and tension pneumothorax. Pneumothorax can occur spontaneously ("out of the blue", with or without underlying lung disease), follow a fractured rib, occur in the wake of chest surgery, or be deliberately induced in order to collapse the lung. Smoking has been shown to increase the risk for spontaneous pneumothorax.
Empyema is the presence of gross pus in the pleural cavity; it consists of an effusion containing polymorphonuclear leukocytes and fibrin. Empyema is caused by an infection that spreads from the lung and leads to an accumulation of pus in the pleural space. The infected fluid can build up to a quantity of a pint or more, which puts pressure on the lungs, causing shortness of breath and pain. Risk factors include recent pulmonary (lung) conditions including bacterial pneumonia, lung abscess, thoracic surgery, trauma or injury to the chest, or rarely, thoracentesis.
Pleural effusion
A pleural effusion is the buildup of fluid between the outer lining of the lungs (visceral lining) and the inner lining (parietal lining) of the chest cavity. These linings are called the pleura. The lungs are contained within the thoracic cavity, the upper part of the trunk within the rib cage. They are completely lined by a thin inner membrane called the visceral pleura. It is continuous with another thin outer membrane called the parietal pleura which also invests the lungs, but attaches to the chest wall.

Topics in respiratory and lung diseases

Lung diseases
Occupational lung diseases
Respiratory infections
Respiration disorders
Broncheal diseases
Pleural diseases
Lung transplant

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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005