Internal Medicine


Pleurisy or pleuritis is inflammation of the membranes that surround the lungs and line the chest cavity (pleurae).


Figure A shows the location of the lungs, airways, pleura, and diaphragm (a muscle that helps you breathe). The inset image shows a detailed view of the two pleural layers and pleural space. Figure B shows lungs with pleurisy and pneumothorax. The inset image shows a detailed view of an infected lung with thickened and inflamed pleural layers. | National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Public Domain,


  • Viral infection (M/C)
  • Pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, autoimmune disorders, lung cancer, following heart surgery, pancreatitis, chest trauma, and asbestosis
  • Idiopathic



  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood tests
  • Arterial blood gas
  • Thoracentesis


The illustration shows a person undergoing thoracentesis. The person sits upright and leans on a table. Excess fluid from the pleural space is drained into a bag. | National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute – Thoracentesis, Public Domain,



  • Chest X-ray
  • USG
  • CT scan
Lateral chest landmarks useful for radiology and chest films | By Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator – Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator, CC BY 2.5,

Differential diagnosis

  • Pericarditis
  • Heart attack
  • Cholecystitis
  • Pneumothorax


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