Tests that may be ordered include:

  • Physical examination: The diagnosis of pleurisy involves doing a physical examination, listening to the lungs, and inquiring about one’s medical background. Healthcare providers usually ask about the specifics of the pain, such as its location, characteristics, and aggravating factors. Tests may be required to aid in the diagnosis.
  • Blood tests: A blood sample is examined for indications of infection or autoimmune diseases. Pleurisy may be the initial symptom of certain conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): If certain cardiac conditions are ruled out as the source of the chest pain, this test may be suggested. To assess the heart’s function, tiny electrodes are placed in the body during this test.
  • Ultrasound: This is recommended if check if one has a pleural effusion. This imaging technique creates exact photographs of the internal architecture of the body by using high-frequency sound waves.
  • Chest X-ray: While chest X-rays do not directly display pleurisy, they can offer insights into potential causes of the symptoms, such as fluid buildup around the lungs or infections like pneumonia. This can show if lungs are fully expanding or if there is fluid or air between the lungs and ribs.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: Images from this test can reveal the condition of the pleura and detect other potential causes of pain, such as lung blood clots. A CT scan takes X-ray images from various angles around the body and uses computer processing to create detailed cross-sectional images.

Other procedures that may be required include:

  • Thoracentesis: Also known as fluid testing, this test can check for indications of infection or other potential pleurisy causes. During the procedure, numbing medication is injected between the ribs where fluid was detected on imaging. Then, a needle is inserted through the chest wall to remove the fluid for analysis. Ultrasound helps guide needle insertion. This procedure can improve breathing.
  • Thoracoscopy: Also known as pleuroscopy, this procedure involves inserting a small camera through a small cut in the chest wall. This provide direct visual of the inside the chest to find issues or take a tissue sample for biopsy. This procedure is often done if TB or cancer is suspected.


To alleviate symptoms associated with pleurisy, consider the following approaches:

  • Infection-targeted medication: If the cause of your pleurisy is an infection, your healthcare provider might prescribe antibiotics or medications to combat fungal infections.
  • Symptom management medication: For pain relief, your healthcare provider may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids.
  • Fluid removal: To ease pain, your healthcare provider might perform a procedure to remove fluid from your lungs (known as thoracentesis).
  • Rest: It’s crucial to find a comfortable resting position that minimizes your discomfort. Even as you begin to feel improvement, avoid exerting yourself too much.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking can exacerbate lung irritation. If you’re struggling to quit smoking on your own, seek assistance from your healthcare provider.