Pleurisy: Symptom or Condition?

Jennifer Confer, PharmD, BCPS; Jennifer Egbert-Kibler, PharmD


US Pharmacist 

In This Article


Depending upon the underlying cause of pleurisy, patients may present with a wide variety of symptoms. As described above, one common feature in patients with pleurisy is a pleural rub, in which the parietal and visceral pleurae rub together and cause friction. This friction, brought about by pleural inflammation, can be acute or chronic. The pain, which is sharp and localized, tends to be further intensified by coughing, sneezing, deep inspiration, or chest movement.[1,2] A physical examination may reveal additional findings, including reduced breath sounds, wheezing, productive cough with sputum production, or rapid, shallow breathing. To accurately diagnose the cause of pleurisy, the clinician should combine a history of the patient's symptoms with a full physical examination and results of diagnostic tests.[1–3]


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