You have pain in your chest. Your healthcare provider has told you that you have pleurisy, or pleuritis. Pleurisy is swelling (inflammation) of the pleura. The pleura are two layers of thin smooth tissue that surround the lungs and line the chest.
Pleurisy usually causes sharp chest pain. It is usually worse when you take a deep breath, cough, or sneeze.
Many things can cause pleurisy. A common cause is a viral infection like the flu or pneumonia. Serious lung problems that can cause it include:
A blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism)
Air between the pleura (pneumothorax)
Serious heart problems that can cause pleurisy include:
Inflammation of the covering of the heart (pericarditis)
Your healthcare provider examines you and asks you about your symptoms and health history. He or she will first check you for the serious causes of chest pain. You may have:
Imaging tests such as chest X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound
Treatment depends on what is causing the pleurisy. Serious conditions are treated in the hospital. You may need medicines to decrease the inflammation and pain.
Call 911 if any of these occur:
Chest pain that gets worse
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:
A fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
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