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Pleurisy, also known as pleuritis, is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Pleurisy has a variety of infectious and non-infectious causes. Pleurisy can cause painful respiration (also called pleuritic chest pain) and other signs and symptoms, some of which may remain long after the pleurisy has gone away. Such sequelae, enumerated in 19th Century medical texts, permitted retrospective diagnosis. [cite book
author=Erastus Edgerton Marcy
coauthor=F. W. Hunt
title=The Homoeopathic theory and practice of medicine v. 1
publisher=William Radde
location=New York
, page 830. [ Google Books]


*Bronchial carcinoma
*Lung or chest wall abscess
*Pulmonary infarction


*Inspiratory chest pain
*Shortness of breath
*Weight loss
*Poor appetite
*Pain may limit chest expansion on affected side.
*Rapid shallow breaths
*Inability to take a deep breath
*Itching in sites on the back (near the site of the lungs, but no visible rashes)

Famous cases

* Benjamin Franklin nearly died from the disease at the age of 84. [ [ The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin] ]
* Francis Scott Key died in 1843 at the home of his daughter Elizabeth Howard in Baltimore from pleurisy and was initially interred in Old Saint Paul's Cemetery in the vault of John Eager Howard. [ [] ]
* Carson McCullers, author of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, was diagnosed with pleurisy in 1944. [ [ Timeline of Carson McCullers' Life ] ]
* Charlemagne, known as the father of Europe for reuniting much of the Roman Empire, died in 813 of pleurisy. [Einhard, "The Life Of Charlemagne" (University of Michigan Press, 5th edition, 1964) at p. 59]
* Hernan Cortes, a spanish conquistador, died from pleurisy in 1547 at the age of 65.
* Catherine de Medici died of pleurisy at Blois in 1588 at the age of 69.
* Anna Pavlova died of pleurisy in the Hague in 1931, when on tour in the Netherlands. She was then 49.
* Chicago White Sox outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. was diagnosed with pleurisy in April 2007. [ [ Cincinnati Reds News » Griffey diagnosed with pleurisy, listed as day to day (AP) ] ]
* Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player LeBron James was diagnosed with pleurisy on October 14, 2005. [ [ People's Daily Online - Cavaliers James diagnosed with pleurisy ] ] [ [ ESPN - James out of hospital after treatment for pleurisy - NBA ] ]
* Actor Rudolph Valentino suffered from pleurisy when he died in 1926. [ [ The Death of Rudolph Valentino ] ]
*Ringo Starr, former Beatles drummer, had chronic-pleurisy at age 13 in 1953. [cite book
last = Myers
first = F.W.H.
title = Wordsworth
publisher = BiblioBazaar, LLC
date = 2006
pages = Page 177
url =
isbn = 1426432267
* Japanese poet and author Kenji Miyazawa suffered from pleurisy.
* Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy died from pleurisy in 1928.

References in literature

* In "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams, reference is made to Laura Wingfield's bout with pleurosis during high school. At the time, Laura entertained timid but romantic feelings for Jim, who upon asking about her absence, mistakenly hears her say "blue roses" and carelessly adopts the moniker for her.
* In Eugene O'Neill's "Beyond the Horizon", the main character of Robert comes down with pleurisy.
* In "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" by Alan Sillitoe, the main character, Colin Smith, contracts pleurisy.
* In the J. D. Salinger short story "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters", the protagonist Buddy Glass is recovering from a bout of pleurisy (and has his chest tightly bound as a result).


External links

*cite web | title="Pleurisy and Pleuritic Pain" |author= Kenny, Dr.|year=2002 | work=Patient UK | url= | accessdate=2006-03-14
*cite web | title="Pleurisy" | work=eCureMe | url= | accessdate=2006-03-14
* [ The Lung Association of Canada explanation of Pleurisy (also available in French)]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pleurisy — Pleu ri*sy, n. [F. pleur[ e]sie, L. pleurisis, pleuritis, Gr pleyri^tis (sc. no sos), fr. pleyra rib, side.] (Med.) An inflammation of the pleura, usually accompanied with fever, pain, difficult respiration, and cough, and with exudation into the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pleurisy — late 14c., from O.Fr. pleurisie (13c.), from L.L. pleurisis pleurisy (c.400), alt. of L. pleuritis pain in the side, from Gk. pleuritis, from pleura side of the body, rib, of unknown origin. Spelling altered in Late Latin on model of L. stem plur …   Etymology dictionary

  • pleurisy — ► NOUN ▪ inflammation of the pleurae, causing pain during breathing. DERIVATIVES pleuritic adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • pleurisy — [ploor′ə sē] n. [ME pleresye < MFr pleurisie < LL pleurisis, for L pleuritis < Gr < pleura, rib, side] inflammation of the pleura, characterized by difficult, painful breathing and often accompanied by the exudation of liquid into the …   English World dictionary

  • Pleurisy — Inflammation of the pleura, the linings surrounding the lungs. There are two layers of pleura; one covering the lung and the other covering the inner wall of the chest. These two layers are lubricated by pleural fluid. Pleurisy is frequently… …   Medical dictionary

  • pleurisy — pleuritic /ploo rit ik/, adj. /ploor euh see/, n. Pathol. inflammation of the pleura, with or without a liquid effusion in the pleural cavity, characterized by a dry cough and pain in the affected side. [1350 1400; ME pluresy < OF pleurisie < LL… …   Universalium

  • pleurisy —    An inflammation of the serous membranes that both surround the lungs and line the inside of the chest cavity; the two membranes supply fluid lubrication between the expanding and contracting lungs and the body. Most pleurisy (and usually the… …   Herbal-medical glossary

  • pleurisy — Synonyms and related words: Asiatic flu, Hong Kong flu, acute bronchitis, adenoiditis, aluminosis, amygdalitis, anthracosilicosis, anthracosis, asbestosis, asthma, atypical pneumonia, bituminosis, black lung, bronchial pneumonia, bronchiectasis,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • pleurisy — [14] Greek pleurá, a word of unknown origin, denoted ‘side’ or ‘rib’. It came to be used as an anatomical term for the ‘inner lining of the chest, containing the lungs’, and the derivative pleurítis ‘inflammation of the chest lining’ was coined… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • pleurisy — [[t]plʊ͟ərɪsi[/t]] N SING Pleurisy is a serious illness in which a person s lungs are sore and breathing is difficult …   English dictionary

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