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Complications of pleurisy

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Pleural effusion

In very rare cases of pleurisy, excess fluid can build up between the layers of the pleura. This is known as pleural effusion.

Pleural effusion may relieve chest pain but it can also put a lot of strain on the lungs and cause shortness of breath. The excess liquid can become infected.

Pleural effusion usually clears up when the condition that caused the pleurisy has been successfully treated. If it does not clear up naturally, surgery can be used to drain the fluid.


  • Pain: Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling and your body's way of warning you that it has been damaged.
  • Lungs: Lungs are a pair of organs in the chest that control breathing. They remove carbon dioxide from the blood and replace it with oxygen.
Medical Review: April 04, 2009

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