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Pleuritis Caused By Exposure to Asbestos

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What Is Pleuritis?

Pleuritis or pleurisy is an inflammation of the two-layer membrane called pleura that covers the lung and lines the rib cage. Because these two layers become inflamed they rub against each other and every cough or breath can be extremely painful. This condition is sometimes associated with pleural effusion. The built-up liquid between the two layers may relieve the pain, however, a large amount of fluid may put pressure on the lungs, which cannot move freely.

Pleuritis can be caused, among others, by:

Symptoms of Pleuritis

The main symptom is a sharp pain when breathing in and out. The pain is severe when sneezing, coughing or moving. The symptoms may be mistaken for pericarditis or heart attack. Other symptoms such as fever or loss of appetite may appear depending on the condition causing the pleuritis.

Diagnosis of Pleuritis

The doctor will initially examine the patient and record a medical history. She may ask for further tests to be done, such as X-rays, blood tests, thoracentesis, CT scan, ultrasound, in order to locate the inflammation and determine the cause of it. A biopsy may be performed to exclude any cancer as the cause of pleuritis.

Procedures & Treatment for Pleuritis Caused By Asbestos Exposure

Treating the underlying condition is the first approach. Thoracentesis (removal of fluid from the chest cavity) may ease the pain and improve breathing. Antibiotics and fluid drainage are required if there is an infection. In severe cases decortication is performed.

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