This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The diagnosis and treatment of pleurisy in general practice

Written by: | Published:

Pleurisy is most commonly viral in aetiology. Pleurisy may be caused by a number of conditions, such as pericarditis, pneumonia, myocardial infarction, and pneumothorax.1 During 2011-12, there were approximately 2000 hospital admissions due to pleurisy. It is likely that the prevalence may be higher than this, as many people do not seek further treatment.

Pleuritic chest pain

Pleuritic chest pain is a symptom of pleurisy and is caused by the parietal pleura becoming inflamed. The parietal pleura is innervated by somatic nerves, whereas the visceral pleura does not have pain receptions or nociceptors.1

The parietal pleura of the outer rib cage and lateral aspect of each hemidiaphragm is innervated by intercostal nerves. The phrenic nerve innervates the central part of the diaphragm. If impulses are transmitted through the phrenic nerve, pain may be referred to the shoulder.

Pleuritic chest pain refers to sharp pain exacerbated by inspiration, coughing, or sneezing, as well as movement. Pleuritic chest pain may cause a sensation of shortness of breath. Patients may describe pleuritic chest pain as stabbing in nature.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


Very informative
Posted by: ,

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.