Journal of Clinical Respiratory Medicine

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Pleural Disease

The pleura is the membrane that lines the thoracic (chest) cavity and covers the lungs. It is like a large sheet of tissue that wraps around the outside of the lungs and lines the inside of the chest cavity. There are many types of pleural diseases, including: Pleurisy - an infection of the pleural cavity, Pleural effusion - the buildup of pleural fluid in the pleural cavity, Pneumothorax - the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, Hemothorax - the presence of blood in the pleural cavity and pleural tumors. Symptoms of pleurisy may include: Shortness of breath, A cough, Fever and chills, Rapid, shallow breathing, Unexplained weight loss, Sore throat that is followed by joint swelling and soreness. The treatment of pleural disease is can be dictated by the condition and may vary from the placement of a chest tube to evacuate the  air, draining fluid with a needle (thoracentesis) or a chest tube, or opening the chest to remove the diseased pleura (decortication). Abrading the pleural surface to achieve the adherence of the lung to the chest wall may be required for the recurrent pneumothorax. In some cases of malignancy (mesothelioma), removal of all of the pleura as well as the underlying lung (extrapleural pnemonectomy) may be easily indicated.

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