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Pleurisy And Pleural Effusion

More Info

Monday, Aug. 27, 2007; 7:46 PM

Copyright Harvard Health Publications 2007

When To Call A Professional

Call your doctor immediately or go to an emergency room if you experience any form of severe or persistent chest pain or any difficulty breathing. Chest pain can be a symptom of many different disorders, some of which are potentially life threatening.


In patients with pleurisy, the outlook depends on the underlying medical illness.

  • Lung infection - People with epidemic pleurodynia or other viral cause of pleurisy have an excellent prognosis. Patients with bacterial pneumonia also have a good prognosis if they promptly receive proper antibiotic treatment, especially if they are young and otherwise healthy.

  • Pulmonary embolism - When a small pulmonary embolism affects less than 30 percent of the lungs, the prognosis is excellent. For large or recurrent emboli, respiratory problems or bleeding can occur in the future as a result of lung damage and the risks of long-term treatment with blood thinners.

  • Lung cancer - The prognosis for lung cancer depends on whether the cancer is started in the lungs or spread there from another site in the body, how much lung tissue is involved, and whether the lung cancer has spread to other tissues and organs. Although the overall prognosis for people with lung cancer is poor, the outlook is best for those with small, localized tumors that are detected early.

  • Rheumatic fever - In most cases, rheumatic fever has a good prognosis. Recurrence is most common in the first five years after the initial rheumatic fever episode.

  • Connective tissue disorders - The outlook for people with pleurisy resulting from lupus is good, but the overall prognosis depends on whether other major organs, such as the kidney, are affected by the disease.

Additional Info

American Lung Association 61 Broadway, 6th Floor New York, NY 10006 Phone: (212) 315-8700 Toll-Free: (800) 548-8252 E-Mail: info@lungusa.org http://www.lungusa.org/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) P.O. Box 30105 Bethesda, MD 20824-0105 Phone: (301) 592-8573 TTY: (240) 629-3255 Fax: (301) 592-8563 E-Mail: nhlbiinfo@rover.nhlbi.nih.gov http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/

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