Skip to main content
Select Source:

Pleurisy

Pleurisy

Definition

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds and protects the lungs (the pleura). Inflammation occurs when an infection or damaging agent irritates the pleural surface. Sharp chest pains are the primary symptom of pleurisy.

Description

Pleurisy, also called pleuritis, is a condition that generally stems from an existing respiratory infection, disease, or injury. In people who have otherwise good health, respiratory infections or pneumonia are the main causes of pleurisy. This condition used to be more common, but with the advent of antibiotics and modern disease therapies, pleurisy has become less prevalent.

The pleura is a double-layered structure made up of an inner membrane, which surrounds the lungs, and an outer membrane, which lines the chest cavity. The pleural membranes are very thin, close together, and have a fluid coating in the narrow space between them. This liquid acts as a lubricant, so that when the lungs inflate and deflate during breathing, the pleural surfaces can easily glide over one another.

Pleurisy occurs when the pleural surfaces rub against one another, due to irritation and inflammation. Infection within the pleural space is the most common irritant, although the abnormal presence of air, blood, or cells can also initiate pleurisy. These disturbances all act to displace the normal pleural fluid, which forces the membranes to rub, rather than glide, against one another. This rubbing irritates nerve endings in the outer membrane and causes pain . Pleurisy also causes a chest noise that ranges from a faint squeak to a loud creak. This characteristic sound is called a "friction rub."

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. However, pleural effusion causes additional complications because it places pressure on the lungs. This leads to respiratory distress and possible lung collapse.

Causes & symptoms

A variety of conditions can give rise to pleurisy. The following represent the most common sources of pleural inflammation:

  • infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis , and other bacterial or viral respiratory infections
  • immune disorders, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis , and sarcoidosis
  • diseases, including cancer, pancreatitis , liver cirrhosis , and heart or kidney failure
  • injury, from a rib fracture, collapsed lung, esophagus rupture, blood clot, or material such as asbestos
  • drug reactions, from certain drugs used to treat tuberculosis (isoniazid), cancer (methotrexate, procarbazine), or the immune disorders mentioned above (hydralazine, procainamide, phenytoin, quinidine).

The hallmark symptom of pleurisy is sudden, intense chest pain that is usually located over the area of inflammation. Although the pain can be constant, it is usually most severe when the lungs move during breathing, coughing, sneezing , or even talking. The pain is usually described as shooting or stabbing, but in minor cases it resembles a mild cramp. When pleurisy occurs in certain locations, such as near the diaphragm, the pain may be felt in other areas such as the neck, shoulder, or abdomen (referred pain). Another indication of pleurisy is that holding one's breath or exerting pressure against the chest causes pain relief.

Pleurisy is also characterized by certain respiratory symptoms. In response to the pain, pleurisy patients commonly have a rapid, shallow breathing pattern. Pleural effusion can also cause shortness of breath, as excess fluid makes expanding the lungs difficult. If severe breathing difficulties persist, patients may experience a blue-colored complexion (cyanosis).

Diagnosis

The distinctive pain of pleurisy is normally the first clue physicians use for diagnosis. Doctors usually feel the chest to find the site of inflammation. A stethoscope is used to listen for abnormal chest sounds (such as the friction rub) as the patient breathes. Sometimes, a friction rub is masked by the presence of pleural effusion and further examination is needed for an accurate diagnosis.

To diagnose the illness that is causing pleurisy, doctors must evaluate the patient's history, additional symptoms, and laboratory test results. A chest x ray may also be taken to look for signs of accumulated fluid and other abnormalities. Computed tomography (CT) scan and ultrasound scans are more powerful diagnostic tools used to visualize the chest cavity.

The most helpful information in diagnosing the cause of pleurisy is a fluid analysis. Once the doctor knows the precise location of fluid accumulation, a sample is removed using a procedure called thoracentesis. In this technique, a fine needle is inserted into the chest to reach the pleural space and extract fluid. Several laboratory tests are performed to analyze the chemical components of the fluid and determine whether bacteria or viruses are present. Pleurisy associated with rheumatoid arthritis produces a distinctive pattern of tissue cells in the pleural fluid. Cancerous growths also shed cells into the tissue fluid. While most cases of pleurisy associated with cancer are secondary developments from a primary tumor, in some instances the pleurisy is the first indication of a malignancy.

In certain instances a biopsy of the pleura may be needed for microscopic analysis. A sample of pleural tissue can be obtained several ways: with a biopsy needle, by making a small incision in the chest wall, or by using a thoracoscope (a video-assisted instrument for viewing the pleural space and collecting samples).

Treatment

Alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment to help heal pleurisy. Acupuncture and botanical medicines are alternative approaches for alleviating pleural pain and breathing problems.

Herbal remedies

Poultices (crushed herbs applied directly to the skin) of respiratory herbs can assist in the healing process. An herbal remedy commonly recommended is pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa ), so named because of its use by early American settlers who learned of this medicinal plant from Native Americans. Pleurisy root helps to ease pain, inflammation, and breathing difficulties brought on by pleurisy. This herb is often used in conjunction with mullein (Verbascum thapsus ) or elecampane (Inula helenium ), which serve as expectorants to clear excess mucus from the lungs. Other respiratory herbs that are used in the treatment of pleurisy include boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum ), catnip (Nepata cataria ), and fever-few (Chrysanthemum parthenium ).

Herbs thought to combat infection, such as echinacea (Echinacea species), are also included in herbal pleurisy remedies. Antiviral herbs, such as Lomatium dissectum and Ligusticum porteri, can be used if the pleurisy is of viral origin.

Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese treatments are chosen based upon the specific symptoms of the patient. The treatment principles are to harmonize the collaterals, regulate the qi, and possibly to treat stagnation of Phlegm and Blood. Acupuncture, ear acupuncture, and herbal remedies are used to treat chest pains. The herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica ) opens air passages and alleviates respiratory difficulties in pleurisy patients. One pill of Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan (Blood Mansion Eliminating Stasis Pill) can be taken twice daily to treat stabbing chest pain. The basic herbal formula, to which additional herbs are added for specific symptoms, is:

  • Chuan Lian Zi (Fructus meliae toosendan ), 10 g
  • Jiang Xiang (Ligum dalbergiae odoriferae ), 3 g
  • Jie Geng (Radix platycodi ), 5 g
  • Xiang Fu (Rhizoma cyperi ), 10 g
  • Xuan Fu Hua (Flos inulae ), 6 g
  • Yan Hu Suo (Rhizoma corydalis ), 10 g
  • Yu Jin (Tuber curcumae ), 10 g
  • Zhi Ke (Fructus aurantii ) 5 g

Other remedies

Other alternative remedies for pleurisy include:

  • Aromatherapy. Essential oils can be effective when used as massage oils or inhaled with steaming water. Rosemary relieves pain. Peppermint relieves pain and decreases inflammation. Eucalyptus eliminates infection.
  • Diet. Dietary recommendations include eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and adequate protein. The patient should ingest omega3 fatty acids' which are fats with anti-inflammatory activity found in salmon, mackerel, herring, and flaxseed oil.
  • Homeopathy. Homeopathic treatment, chosen by a trained practitioner based on the pattern of symptoms experienced by the patient, can be effective in resolving pleurisy.
  • Hydrotherapy . Contrast hydrotherapy applied to the chest and back, along with compresses (cloths soaked in an herbal solution), can assist in the healing process.
  • Supplements. Taking certain nutritional supplements, especially large doses of vitamin C , may also provide health benefits to persons with pleurisy.

Allopathic treatment

The pain of pleurisy is usually treated with analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and indomethacin. Sometimes, a painful cough will be controlled with codeine-based cough syrups. However, as the pain eases, a person with pleurisy should try to breathe deeply and cough to clear congestion, otherwise pneumonia may occur.

The treatment used to cure pleurisy is determined by the underlying cause. Pleurisy from a bacterial infection is treated with antibiotics. Specific therapies designed for more chronic illnesses can often cause pleurisy to subside. In some cases, excess fluid must be removed by thoracentesis or a chest tube. If left untreated, a more serious infection, called empyema, may develop.

Expected results

Prompt diagnosis, followed by appropriate treatment, ensures a good recovery for most pleurisy patients. Generally speaking, the prognosis for pleurisy is linked to the seriousness of its cause.

Prevention

Preventing pleurisy is often a matter of providing early medical attention to conditions that can cause pleural inflammation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding exposure to harmful substances (for example, asbestos) are more general preventative measures.

Resources

BOOKS

The Burton Goldberg Group. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Fife, WA: Future Medicine Publishing, 1999.

Light, Richard W. "Disorders of the Pleura, Mediastinum, and Diaphragm." In Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed., edited by Anthony S. Fauci, et al. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Light, Richard W. Pleural Diseases. Baltimore, MD: Williams and Wilkins, 1995.

Stauffer, John L. "Lung: Pleural Diseases." In Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 1998. edited by Lawrence M. Tierney, Jr., et al. Stamford, CT: Appleton and Lange, 1998.

Ying, Zhou Zhong, and Jin Hui De. "Chest Pain." Clinical Manual of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. New York: Churchill Livingston, 1997.

PERIODICALS

Brechot, J. M., T. Molina, and P. Jacoulet. "Secondary Tumoral Pleurisy." [Article in French] Presse Med 31 (March 30, 2002): 556-561.

Chow, C. W., and S. C. Chang. "Pleuritis as a Presenting Manifestation of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Diagnostic Clues in Pleural Fluid Cytology." American Journal of Medical Science 323 (March 2002): 158-161.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Lung Association. 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-4374. (800) 586-4872. http://www.lungusa.org.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Information Center. PO Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105. (301) 496-4236. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

Belinda Rowland

Rebecca J. Frey, PhD

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Pleurisy." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Pleurisy." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy-1

"Pleurisy." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy-1

Pleurisy

Pleurisy

Definition

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds and protects the lungs (the pleura). Inflammation occurs when an infection or damaging agent irritates the pleural surface. As a consequence, sharp chest pains are the primary symptom of pleurisy.

Description

Pleurisy, also called pleuritis, is a condition that generally stems from an existing respiratory infection, disease, or injury. In people who have otherwise good health, respiratory infections or pneumonia are the main causes of pleurisy. This condition used to be more common, but with the advent of antibiotics and modern disease therapies, pleurisy has become less prevalent.

The pleura is a double-layered structure made up of an inner membrane, which surrounds the lungs, and an outer membrane, which lines the chest cavity. The pleural membranes are very thin, close together, and have a fluid coating in the narrow space between them. This liquid acts as a lubricant, so that when the lungs inflate and deflate during breathing, the pleural surfaces can easily glide over one another.

Pleurisy occurs when the pleural surfaces rub against one another, due to irritation and inflammation. Infection within the pleural space is the most common irritant, although the abnormal presence of air, blood, or cells can also initiate pleurisy. These disturbances all act to displace the normal pleural fluid, which forces the membranes to rub, rather than glide, against one another. This rubbing irritates nerve endings in the outer membrane and causes pain. Pleurisy also causes a chest noise that ranges from a faint squeak to a loud creak. This characteristic sound is called a "friction rub."

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. However, pleural effusion causes additional complications because it places pressure on the lungs. This leads to respiratory distress and possible lung collapse.

Causes and symptoms

A variety of conditions can give rise to pleurisy. The following list represents the most common sources of pleural inflammation.

  • infections, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other bacterial or viral respiratory infections
  • immune disorders, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and sarcoidosis
  • diseases, including cancer, pancreatitis, liver cirrhosis, and heart or kidney failure
  • injury, from a rib fracture, collapsed lung, esophagus rupture, blood clot, or material such as asbestos
  • drug reactions, from certain drugs used to treat tuberculosis (isoniazid), cancer (methotrexate, procarbazine), or the immune disorders mentioned above (hydralazine, procainamide, phenytoin, quinidine)

Symptomatic pain

The hallmark symptom of pleurisy is sudden, intense chest pain that is usually located over the area of inflammation. Although the pain can be constant, it is usually most severe when the lungs move during breathing, coughing, sneezing, or even talking. The pain is usually described as shooting or stabbing, but in minor cases it resembles a mild cramp. When pleurisy occurs in certain locations, such as near the diaphragm, the pain may be felt in other areas such as the neck, shoulder, or abdomen (referred pain). Another indication of pleurisy is that holding one's breath or exerting pressure against the chest causes pain relief.

Breathing difficulties

Pleurisy is also characterized by certain respiratory symptoms. In response to the pain, pleurisy patients commonly have a rapid, shallow breathing pattern. Pleural effusion can also cause shortness of breath, as excess fluid makes expanding the lungs difficult. If severe breathing difficulties persist, patients may experience a blue colored complexion (cyanosis ).

Additional symptoms of pleurisy are specific to the illness that triggers the condition. Thus, if infection is the cause, then chills, fever, and fatigue will be likely pleurisy symptoms.

Diagnosis

The distinctive pain of pleurisy is normally the first clue physicians use for diagnosis. Doctors usually feel the chest to find the most painful area, which is the likely site of inflammation. A stethoscope is also used to listen for abnormal chest sounds as the patient breathes. If the doctor hears the characteristic friction rub, the diagnosis of pleurisy can be confirmed. Sometimes, a friction rub is masked by the presence of pleural effusion and further examination is needed for an accurate diagnosis.

Identifying the actual illness that causes pleurisy is more difficult. To make this diagnosis, doctors must evaluate the patient's history, additional symptoms, and laboratory test results. A chest x ray may also be taken to look for signs of accumulated fluid and other abnormalities. Possible causes, such as pneumonia, fractured ribs, esophagus rupture, and lung tumors may be detected on an x ray. Computed tomography scan (CT scan) and ultrasound scans are more powerful diagnostic tools used to visualize the chest cavity. Images from these techniques more clearly pinpoint the location of excess fluid or other suspected problems.

The most helpful information in diagnosing the cause of pleurisy is a fluid analysis. Once the doctor knows the precise location of fluid accumulation, a sample is removed using a procedure called thoracentesis. In this technique, a fine needle is inserted into the chest to reach the pleural space and extract fluid. The fluid's appearance and composition is thoroughly examined to help doctors understand how the fluid was produced. Several laboratory tests are performed to analyze the chemical components of the fluid. These tests also determine whether infection-causing bacteria or viruses are present. In addition, cells within the fluid are identified and counted. Cancerous cells can also be detected to learn whether the pleurisy is caused by a malignancy.

In certain instances, such as dry pleurisy, or when a fluid analysis is not informative, a biopsy of the pleura may be needed for microscopic analysis. A sample of pleural tissue can be obtained several ways: with a biopsy needle, by making a small incision in the chest wall, or by using a thoracoscope (a video-assisted instrument for viewing the pleural space and collecting samples).

Treatment

Pain management

The pain of pleurisy is usually treated with analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and indomethacin. People with pleurisy may also receive relief from lying on the painful side. Sometimes, a painful cough will be controlled with codeine-based cough syrups. However, as the pain eases, a person with pleurisy should try to breathe deeply and cough to clear any congestion, otherwise pneumonia may occur. Rest is also important to aid in the recovery process.

Treating the source

The treatment used to cure pleurisy is ultimately defined by the underlying cause. Thus, pleurisy from a bacterial infection can be successfully treated with antibiotics, while no treatment is given for viral infections that must run their course. Specific therapies designed for more chronic illnesses can often cause pleurisy to subside. For example, tuberculosis pleurisy is treated with standard anti-tuberculosis drugs. With some illnesses, excess fluid continues to accumulate and causes severe respiratory distress. In these individuals, the fluid may be removed by thoracentesis, or the doctor may insert a chest tube to drain large amounts. If left untreated, a more serious infection may develop within the fluid, called empyema.

Alternative treatment

Alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment to help heal pleurisy. Acupuncture and botanical medicines are alternative approaches for alleviating pleural pain and breathing problems. An herbal remedy commonly recommended is pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa ), so named because of its use by early American settlers who learned of this medicinal plant from Native Americans. Pleurisy root helps to ease pain, inflammation, and breathing difficulties brought on by pleurisy. This herb is often used in conjunction with mullein (Verbascum thapsus ) or elecampane (Inula helenium ), which serve as expectorants to clear excess mucus from the lungs. In addition, there are many other respiratory herbs that are used as expectorants or for other actions on the respiratory system. Herbs thought to combat infection, such as echinacea (Echinacea spp.) are also included in herbal pleurisy remedies. Anitviral herbs, such as Lomatium dissectum and Ligusticum porteri, can be used if the pleurisy is of viral origin. Traditional Chinese medicine uses the herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica ), which acts to open air passages and alleviate respiratory difficulties in pleurisy patients. Dietary recommendations include eating fresh fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, and good quality fats (omega3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and are found in fish and flax oil). Taking certain nutritional supplements, especially large doeses of vitamin C, may also provide health benefits to people with pleurisy. Contrast hydrotherapy applied to the chest and back, along with compresses (cloths soaked in an herbal solution) or poultices (crushed herbs applied directly to the skin) of respiratory herbs, can assist in the healing process. Homeopathic treatment, guided by a trained practitioner, can be effective in resolving pleurisy.

Prognosis

Prompt diagnosis, followed by appropriate treatment, ensures a good recovery for most pleurisy patients. Generally speaking, the prognosis for pleurisy is linked to the seriousness of its cause. Therefore, the outcome of pleurisy caused by a disease such as cancer will vary depending on the type and location of the tumor.

Prevention

Preventing pleurisy is often a matter of providing early medical attention to conditions that can cause pleural inflammation. Along this line, appropriate antibiotic treatment of bacterial respiratory infections may successfully prevent some cases of pleurisy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding exposure to harmful substances (for example, asbestos) are more general preventative measures.

Resources

ORGANIZATIONS

American Lung Association. 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. (800) 586-4872. http://www.lungusa.org.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105. (301) 251-1222. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

KEY TERMS

Effusion The accumulation of fluid within a cavity, such as the pleural space.

Empyema An infection that causes pus to accumulate in the pleural space. The pus may cause a tear in the pleural membrane, which allows the infection to spread to other areas in the body. Intravenous antibiotics are often given to control the infection.

Inflammation An accumulation of fluid and cells within tissue that is often caused by infection and the immune response that occurs as a result.

Pneumonia A condition caused by bacterial or viral infection that is characterized by inflammation of the lungs and fluid within the air passages. Pneumonia is often an underlying cause of pleurisy.

Referred pain The presence of pain in an area other than where it originates. In some pleurisy cases, referred pain occurs in the neck, shoulder, or abdomen.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Pleurisy." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Pleurisy." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy

"Pleurisy." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy

pleurisy

pleurisy (plŏŏr´Ĭsē), inflammation of the pleura (the membrane that covers the lungs and lines the chest cavity). It is sometimes accompanied by pain and coughing. The inflammation may be dry or it may be accompanied by an effusion, or fluid, that fills the chest cavity; when the effusion is infected, the condition is known as empyema. The dry type of pleurisy usually occurs in association with bacterial infections such as pneumonia. Pleurisy with effusion is often associated with such chronic lung conditions as tuberculosis or tumors. Immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatic fever tend to have recurrent pleurisy, with or without effusion. Epidemic pleurodynia, a pleurisy attributed to a virus, is a mild disease of short duration. Treatment of pleurisy is directed at the underlying condition as well as the symptoms.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"pleurisy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pleurisy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy

"pleurisy." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy

Pleurisy

Pleurisy

What Is Pleurisy?

What Are the Symptoms of Pleurisy?

What Causes Pleurisy?

How Is Pleurisy Diagnosed and Treated?

Pleurisy (PLOOR-i-see) is an inflammation* of the membrane* that covers the lungs and lines the chest cavity. The lining is called the pleura (PLOOR-a).

* inflammation
(in-fla-MAY-shun) is the bodys response to infection or irritation.
* membrane
(MEM-brayn) is a thin layer of tissue that covers a surface, lines a cavity, or divides a space or organ.

KEYWORDS

for searching the Internet and other reference sources

Inflammation

Pulmonary system

What Is Pleurisy?

In pleurisy, the membrane covering the lungs and lining the chest cavity becomes inflamed, and excess fluids may build up in the space. When people who have pleurisy breathe in or cough, the inflammation causes pain, which is a result of friction from the inflamed pleura. The pain is a sharp, stabbing pain that begins suddenly. There are a number of different causes of pleurisy.

What Are the Symptoms of Pleurisy?

A sharp, knifelike pain when breathing in or coughing is the primary symptom of pleurisy. People who have pleurisy tend to breathe more frequently with smaller breaths to avoid pain. Ultimately, these small breaths can lead to pneumonia*.

* pneumonia
(noo-MO-nee-a) is an inflammation of the lungs, usually caused by bacteria (bak-TEER-ee-a), viruses (VY-rus-ez), or chemical irritants.

History And Literature

In the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Laura tells her mother how a boy in her high school called her Blue Roses.

Why did he call you such a name as that? asks her mother, Amanda.

Laura explains that when she came back to school after she had an attack of pleurosis, the young man, Jim, asked her what had been the matter with her. She told him she had had pleurosis, and he mistook the word for blue roses. Thereafter, whenever Jim saw Laura, he would greet her with, Hello, Blue Roses!

Unfortunately, it is easier to contract pleurisy than it is to find blue roses. In the play, though, Laura does recover from her pleurosis. Her problems are of a different nature. The title of the play refers to Lauras collection of glass animals.

What Causes Pleurisy?

Pleurisy may result from a number of causes. It can develop from infections, such as pneumonia. It also can be a result of injury from an accident or chest surgery. Sometimes, pleurisy is a complication of another disease, like lung cancer* or rheumatoid arthritis*. Another cause of pleurisy is damage to the pleura from toxic substances such as asbestos. The result in all of these cases is inflammation of the pleura that causes pain when a person coughs or breathes.

* cancer
is any tumorous (TOO-mor-us) condition the natural (untreated) course of which is often fatal.
* rheumatoid arthritis
(ROO-ima-toid ar-THRI-tis) is a chronic (KRON-lk) autoimmune disease characterized by pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformation of the joints.

How Is Pleurisy Diagnosed and Treated?

Physicians may diagnose pleurisy when they hear a friction rub when the patient breathes deeply. Doctors can use several different laboratory tests to help diagnose the condition, one of which requires taking fluid out of the chest for analysis. Medicines can be given to help with the pain and inflammation. However, the underlying cause of pleurisy, such as bacterial pneumonia or tuberculosis (too-ber-ku-LO-sis), must be treated.

See also

Bacterial Infections

Pneumonia

Tuberculosis

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Pleurisy." Complete Human Diseases and Conditions. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Pleurisy." Complete Human Diseases and Conditions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy-0

"Pleurisy." Complete Human Diseases and Conditions. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy-0

pleurisy

pleu·ri·sy / ˈploŏrəsē/ • n. Med. inflammation of the pleurae, which impairs their lubricating function and causes pain when breathing. It is caused by pneumonia and other diseases of the chest or abdomen. DERIVATIVES: pleu·rit·ic / ploŏˈritik/ adj.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"pleurisy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pleurisy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pleurisy-0

"pleurisy." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pleurisy-0

pleurisy

pleurisy (ploor-i-si) n. inflammation of the pleura, often due to pneumonia in the underlying lung. The pleural surfaces become slightly sticky, so that there is pain on deep breathing. Pleurisy is always associated with some other disease in the lung, chest wall, diaphragm, or abdomen.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"pleurisy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pleurisy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pleurisy

"pleurisy." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pleurisy

pleurisy

pleurisy Inflammation of the pleura. It is nearly always due to infection, but may arise as a complication of other diseases.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"pleurisy." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pleurisy." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy

"pleurisy." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pleurisy

pleurisy

pleurisy •radiancy •immediacy, intermediacy •expediency • idiocy • saliency •resiliency • leniency •incipiency, recipiency •recreancy • pruriency • deviancy •subserviency • transiency • pliancy •buoyancy, flamboyancy •fluency, truancy •constituency • abbacy • embassy •celibacy • absorbency •incumbency, recumbency •ascendancy, intendancy, interdependency, pendency, resplendency, superintendency, tendency, transcendency •candidacy •presidency, residency •despondency • redundancy • infancy •sycophancy • argosy • legacy •profligacy • surrogacy •extravagancy • plangency • agency •regency •astringency, contingency, stringency •intransigency • exigency • cogency •pungency •convergency, emergency, insurgency, urgency •vacancy • piquancy • fricassee •mendicancy • efficacy • prolificacy •insignificancy • delicacy • intricacy •advocacy • fallacy • galaxy •jealousy, prelacy •repellency • valency • Wallasey •articulacy • corpulency • inviolacy •excellency • equivalency • pharmacy •supremacy • clemency • Christmassy •illegitimacy, legitimacy •intimacy • ultimacy • primacy •dormancy • diplomacy • contumacy •stagnancy •lieutenancy, subtenancy, tenancy •pregnancy •benignancy, malignancy •effeminacy • prominency •obstinacy • pertinency • lunacy •immanency •impermanency, permanency •rampancy • papacy • flippancy •occupancy •archiepiscopacy, episcopacy •transparency • leprosy • inerrancy •flagrancy, fragrancy, vagrancy •conspiracy • idiosyncrasy •minstrelsy • magistracy • piracy •vibrancy •adhocracy, aristocracy, autocracy, bureaucracy, democracy, gerontocracy, gynaecocracy (US gynecocracy), hierocracy, hypocrisy, meritocracy, mobocracy, monocracy, plutocracy, technocracy, theocracy •accuracy • obduracy • currency •curacy, pleurisy •confederacy • numeracy •degeneracy • itinerancy • inveteracy •illiteracy, literacy •innocency • trenchancy • deficiency •fantasy, phantasy •intestacy • ecstasy • expectancy •latency • chieftaincy • intermittency •consistency, insistency, persistency •instancy • militancy • impenitency •precipitancy • competency •hesitancy • apostasy • constancy •accountancy • adjutancy •consultancy, exultancy •impotency • discourtesy •inadvertency • privacy •irrelevancy, relevancy •solvency • frequency • delinquency •adequacy • poignancy

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"pleurisy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pleurisy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pleurisy

"pleurisy." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pleurisy