Pleural Disorders
Pleural Disorders

Pleural Disorders Pleurisy, Pleural Effusion, and Pneumothorax

The three types of pleural disorders include pleural effusion, pleurisy, and pneumothorax.

What is pleural effusion?

Pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid in the pleural space. The cause of the buildup determines the type of pleural effusion.

  • Exudative effusion is caused by a buildup of fluid from inflammation , tumors, infection, or lung injury. The types of exudative effusion vary by the fluid buildup in the pleural space. For example, an empyema is a buildup of infection or pus, a hemothorax happens when blood builds up, and a chylothorax results from a buildup of chyle, a substance formed in the small intestine.
  • Transudative pleural effusion is caused by pressure in the blood vessels, most often because of a medical condition such as heart, kidney, or liver failure. The pressure pushes excess fluid into the pleural cavity.
Fluid is shown in the pleural space on the left lung.
Fluid is shown in the pleural space on the left lung. Medical Illustration Copyright © 2022 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.

What is pleurisy?

Pleurisy is inflammation of the pleura. It is also called pleuritis.

What is pneumothorax?

A pneumothorax is a collection of air or gas in the pleural space. The buildup of air or gas can put pressure on the lung and cause all or part of it to collapse.

There are different types of pneumothorax.

  • Spontaneous pneumothorax can happen suddenly and without any known cause or in people without any signs of lung disease. Sometimes, it may be caused by another medical condition that affects the lungs, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Tension pneumothorax is a very large pneumothorax that may result in failure of the heart and the lungs. This can interfere with blood flow through your chest and cause your blood pressure to drop.
  • Traumatic pneumothorax is caused by a chest injury.
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