Lung Diseases Affecting the Pleura

The pleura is a thin lining that surrounds the lung and lines the inside of the chest wall. A tiny layer of fluid allows the pleura on the lung’s surface to slide along the chest wall with each breath. Lung diseases of the pleura include:

  • Pleural effusion: Fluid collects in the normally tiny pleura space between the lung and the chest wall. Pneumonia or heart failure is usually responsible. If large, pleural effusions can impair breathing, and should be drained.
  • Pneumothorax: Air may enter the space between the chest wall and the lung, collapsing the lung. To remove the air, a tube is typically inserted through the chest wall.
  • Mesothelioma: A rare form of cancerthat forms on the pleura. Mesothelioma tends to emerge several decades after asbestos exposure.

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