Pleural Disease

Board Certified Pulmonologists & Board Certified Sleep Medicine Physicians located in Joliet and New Lenox, IL

Pleural Disease

About Pleural Disease

Pleural disease develops in the pleura, which covers your lungs. If you have symptoms of conditions like pleurisy or pleural effusion, visit Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. in Joliet or New Lenox, Illinois. The board-certified pulmonologists use the latest cutting-edge diagnostic technologies to determine what’s causing your symptoms. Call your nearest Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. office to arrange a pleural disease assessment or request a consultation by completing the online form today.

Pleural Disease Q & A

What is pleural disease?

Pleural disease affects the pleura — the tissue covering the outside of your lungs and lining your chest cavity.

The pleural cavity or space is the thin gap between the pleura’s two layers. Small quantities of fluid fill the pleural cavity, helping the layers slide smoothly when you inhale and exhale.

Injuries, inflammation, and infection can cause blood, other liquids, or air to collect in the pleural space (pleural effusion).

What are the most common pleural diseases?

Pleural diseases include:


Pneumothorax develops if too much air builds up in the pleural cavity, collapsing the lung.


Empyema can develop if an infection, such as pneumonia, spreads from your lungs into the pleural cavity, causing pus to build up.


Pleurisy is inflammation affecting the pleural cavity membranes.

Pleural tumors

Pleural mesothelioma is cancer affecting the pleural cavity, typically caused by asbestos exposure.

What symptoms does pleural disease cause?

Pleural disease symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dry cough
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety

Conditions like pleurisy in the left lung can cause symptoms resembling a heart attack, including severe pain extending down the arm.

How are pleural diseases diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a medical history review and symptom analysis followed by a physical exam and, very often, blood tests. Additional diagnostic procedures include:

Lung imaging

A chest MRI or X-ray detects fluid or air in the pleural cavity, and pleural disorder causes pneumonia, lung tumors, and fractured ribs.


This procedure involves extracting a pleural fluid sample for testing. The lab analyzes the fluid your provider removes under a microscope, looking for infection, cancer, and other pleural diseases that cause fluid or blood buildup in the pleural space.


A biopsy is a tissue sample taken from the pleura and checked in the lab for signs of pleural disease.

Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. uses cutting-edge diagnostic technologies, including the Ion™ Endoluminal Bronchoscopy System for lung biopsies.

How are pleural diseases treated?

The first step in treating pleural disease is to drain the fluid, blood, pus, or air from the pleural cavity. It’s also vital to treat underlying conditions and infections, such as antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia.

Excess fluids in your pleural cavity can cause a fibrous capsule to develop around the affected lung, restricting breathing. Decortication removes the tissue.

Call Midwest Respiratory, Ltd. to request an appointment if you're experiencing pleural disease symptoms or schedule a consultation online today.