Guide to pleural_thickening


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Guide to pleural_thickening

  1. 1. Disease/IllnessGUIDE TO PLEURAL THICKENING What is Pleural Thickening? What causes Pleural Thickening?ƒ The pleura - two layered protective Tiny asbestos fibres settle in the lung membrane surrounding the lung tissues and irritate the pleura causingƒ The lungs - a pair of organs in the chest scarring and hardening. The scarring is that control breathing. They take in irreversible. oxygen from the air that we breathe and remove carbon dioxide from the blood However, a number of other possible causesƒ Pleural thickening - thickening and exist and pleural thickening is less hardening of the pleura specific to asbestos exposure than pleural plaques eg:Pleural thickening occurs in 2 forms: ƒ Infections in the pleural space such asƒ Diffuse pleural thickening extends over a tuberculosis can cause thickening of the large area and may restrict expansion pleura of the lungs ƒ Inflammation of the pleura withoutƒ Pleural Plaques - localised areas of infection can cause thickening of the pleural thickening/calcification which do pleura eg same symptom of rheumatoid not usually interfere with breathing arthritis ƒ Injury. Pleural thickening can develop following injury to the chest region such as bony fractures to the ribs Telephone 0844 858 3200
  2. 2. Disease/Illnessƒ Certain medications can cause What are the symptoms of thickening of the pleura, although drug Pleural Thickening? induced pleural thickening is generally quite uncommon. However, a host of Occasionally reports state that extensive drugs that can cause thickening of the pleural plaques can cause a tight feeling or pleura do exist, eg Ergoline drugs even pain across the chest. Research including bromocriptine and indicates that in some cases lung function is methysergide, often used to treat restricted due to the advanced nature of the symptoms such as cluster headaches, pleural plaques/pleural thickening. migraines and Parkinson’s diseaseƒ Blood clot in the artery in the lung The lining of the lungs allows the lungs to (pulmonary embolism). A pulmonary expand and dilate smoothly during breathing. embolism can interrupt blood supply to Where the pleura have extensive calcification parts of the lungs causing the tissues to or thickened, this process is often impaired die (necrosis). Pleural Thickening can and affects lung function. occur as part of the healing processƒ Radiation eg radiotherapy treatment can Pleural plaques and pleural thickening in the effect and thicken the pleura of patient absence of asbestosis or malignance are with lung cancer usually monitored, but not treated.ƒ Tumours. Benign and malignant tumours may invade the pleura and this gives the If victims of pleural plaques or pleural appearance of pleural thickening. The thickening start to notice other symptoms pleura is a very thin membrane and is such as breathlessness, see your doctor usually not visible on x-rays of the chest. immediately. Anything that increases the tissue thickness of the pleura will appear on x- Diagnosing Pleural Thickening? rays as pleural ‘thickening’. This can occur when there is fibrosis of the pleura The main method of diagnosing pleural as in asbestos related pleural thickening thickening include plain x-rays or CT scans or when tumour tissue invades the pleura. (computerised tomography scans). Normally, Even simple inflammation of the tissue the pleura appear as a thin white lining cells may cause infiltration of the pleura around the lung. In pleural thickening there and result in the thickening of the will be localized increases in the thickness membrane of this whiteness surrounding the lung. This change in thickness will clearly show up on CT-sans. 2 Telephone 0844 858 3200 © Copyright Simpson Millar LLP 2008
  3. 3. Disease/IllnessTreatment of Pleural Thickening? Recommendationsƒ By definition, pleural thickening is ƒ If you suffer from pleural thickening regarded as benign and usually no you should attend your doctor regularly treatment is offered for monitoring, especially if you notice aƒ Various tests are conducted during the change or increase in symptoms diagnosis stage to determine whether ƒ If you are a smoker, it is very important the condition that is suffered is pleural that you stop smoking immediately as thickening and thus benign, or in fact a smoking will increase the chance of the malignant condition such as malignant condition developing into lung cancer mesothelioma ƒ Regular exercise may help to retain lung function and general fitness levelsDiffuse bilateral pleural thickening may causesymptoms of breathlessness and a tight This guide contains information on current legalfeeling across the chest. issues applicable at the time of printing. Note there may have been changes subsequently which have not been incorporated in to theIn addition pleural thickening is occasionally material. This guide is intended for informationaccompanied by pleural effusion. If this is the purposes only and its content should not be applied to any particular set of facts or reliedcase treatment of the pleural effusion upon without legal or other professional advice. For further information on how we can help youinvolves drainage of the chest and the use of please contact:antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. Emma Costin Partner Tel: 0844 858 3600 Email: 3 Telephone 0844 858 3200 © Copyright Simpson Millar LLP 2008