VOL: 101, ISSUE: 10, PAGE NO: 28
What is it?
- Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is inflammation of the pleura, the double-layered membrane covering the lungs.
- One layer of the pleura is attached to the lung surface and the other to the chest wall. The two layers are separated by a thin layer of lubricating fluid in the pleural space, enabling them to move over each other smoothly.
- Pleurisy causes roughening of the surfaces of the pleura.
- Pleurisy is a symptom rather than a disease.
- Advanced age.
- Chronic lung diseases:
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Heart failure.
- Chest trauma.
- Pulmonary infarctions.
- Sharp, stabbing pain caused by the pleura rubbing against one another.
- Viral pleurisy does not usually cause serious debilitation, although pleuritic pain can be severe.
- Pain usually occurs when inhaling, coughing or twisting the body, often at the end of a deep breath, and can occur anywhere in the chest.
- Cough, cold, flu-like symptoms.
- Fever and general discomfort.
- Rapid, shallow respiration.
- Diminished breath sounds.
- Assess respiratory function.
- Administer analgesic.
- Teach patient to support ribcage when coughing.
- Help reposition to alleviate pain, such as lying on the affected side.
- Assess level of anxiety and provide reassurances of safety.
- Based on symptoms and hearing a pleural rub with a stethoscope.
- Chest X-ray often reveals the underlying cause of the pleurisy.
- Blood tests and sputum analysis may be necessary, particularly if the condition is severe or does not respond to treatment.
- Pleural effusion (excessive pleural fluid, which forces the pleura apart and collects in the lower parts).
- The effusion may compress and partially collapse the lung.
- Pleural adhesion (inflamed patches of the pleura become permanently stuck together).
- Treatment tackles the underlying cause, as there is no specific treatment for pleurisy itself.
- Viral pleurisy is usually resolved without treatment, although analgesia may be necessary.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs may ease symptoms.
- If the condition is severe, particularly if it is accompanied by pneumonia, oxygen may be required.
- Symptoms should subside within 7-10 days.