Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is a condition that results from the swelling of the linings of the lungs and chest. The pleural cavity (area between lungs and inner chest wall) is created by two lubricated surfaces called pleura, the inner pleura lining the lungs and the outer lining the chest wall. A variety of factors can cause the pleura to become inflamed and rub against one another, rather than slide smoothly, as one breathes.
What causes pleurisy?
Pleurisy is a common complication of several different medical conditions, the most pervasive being a viral infection of the lower respiratory system.
Other causes include:
Bacterial infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis
A chest wound that punctured the pleural cavity
A pleural tumor
Autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
Sickle cell anemia
A heart surgery complication
Lung cancer or lymphoma
A fungal or parasitic infection
Familial Mediterranean fever
Infections can sometimes spread from person to person, but it is rare to “catch” pleurisy.