pleurisy (plŏrˈĭsē) [key], 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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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