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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Posted by: Leigh Anne Bedingfield
Date: February 20, 2000 6:20 PM

I had pleurisy about 6 years ago. It was very painful and I took many antibiotics, a steroid pack, anti-inflammatories, etc. I did get better, but have never fully felt 100%. I do still get upper-respiratory pain, in the same place that I first noticed pain with pleurisy. Is it common for people to have "arthritic" type pain in their chest after having pleurisy? What about scar tissue around your pleural lining caused from pleurisy? I would really like to understand pleurisy, is it viral? Bacterial? How do you get it? Do you ever fully recover? What kind of doc. should I see? I went to my general practice doctor this Fall and shared all my symptoms with him....he just looked at me and said,"I have no idea what could be wrong with you. It could be associated with your pleurisy. Take some Naprosin."

Posted by: Ron Kennedy, MD
Date: February 22, 2000 4:31 PM

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleurae, the thin linings which contain the lungs and also line the inner thorax wall. Normally these two surfaces slide past each other during respiration. In pleurisy they grind past each other as the lubricating fluid contains cellular debris sent there to fight off the infective agent. After the infection (which can be viral or bacterial) the pleurae should return to normal. If you are still in pain, there must be either scar tissue or some remnant of the infection left. There could be other, harder to conceive of, explanations. Under any circumstances, I think the person to see would be a thoracic surgeon, not to necessarily have surgery, but because that would be the person most likely to have seen this problem before.

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