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Inflammation of the visceral and parietal pleurae that surround the lungs and line the thoracic cavity. It may be primary or secondary; unilateral, bilateral, or local; acute or chronic; fibrinous, serofibrinous, or purulent. Common causes of pleurisy include viral infections, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, rib fracture, and serositis from autoimmune diseases.
SYN: SEE: pleuritis
Sharp stabbing pain exacerbated by breathing is characteristic.
Respiratory function is monitored by auscultation, observation of breathing pattern, and oximetry. The patient is positioned in the high Fowler position to facilitate chest expansion. Rest is encouraged. Deep breathing using incentive spirometry is encouraged every 1 to 2 hr to prevent atelectasis. To reduce discomfort when coughing, the patient should splint the chest with a pillow and administer analgesic drugs and use noninvasive measures, such as local application of warm or cool compresses. Respiratory toilet is provided if secretions are present. Rest is recommended. Prescribed medical regimens are carried out, with treatment directed at the underlying cause, and the patient's responses evaluated. Severe pain may be managed with intercostal nerve block. Thoracentesis may be required if pleural effusion is present.