ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pleurisy of the lungs. Coloured frontal X-ray of a patient's chest showing pleurisy, inflammation of the membranes that line the chest cavity and lungs (the pleura). A large area of inflammation (orange) is seen obstructing the lung (black) at right. Inflammation of the pleura leads to the lungs rubbing against the chest wall, which causes sharp pain on breathing. Fluid may accumulate in the space between the membranes (pleural effusion), causing breathing difficulties. Treatment is of the underlying cause, which may be bacterial or viral infection, cancer or an embolism. Any accumulated fluid can be drained surgically.
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