Diseases of the Pleura

  • Jack A. KastelikEmail author
  • Michael A. Greenstone
  • Sega Pathmanathan


Pleural disorders are a common reason for referral to respiratory specialists, with over 50 known conditions that can cause pleural effusion. Chest radiography remains the initial investigation of choice, as it can detect pneumothorax, pleural thickening, asbestos-related pleural disorders, and pleural effusion of at least 200 ml in volume. Pneumothorax is defined as the presence of air in the pleural cavity and is a common medical emergency. Common causes of exudative pleural effusions are infection, pulmonary embolism, and malignancy. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that is an important cause of mortality worldwide, and arises from the mesothelial cells lining the pleura, usually because of exposure to asbestos fibres. Common causes of transudative pleural effusions include cardiac failure, and liver or renal diseases. Thoracic ultrasound, computed tomography, and positron emission tomography have become important imaging modalities in the investigation of pleural disorders.


Pleura Pleural effusion Pneumothorax Mesothelioma Empyema 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack A. Kastelik
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael A. Greenstone
    • 1
  • Sega Pathmanathan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Respiratory MedicineHull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Castle Hill HospitalCottinghamUK

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