Pleurisy or not Pleurisy?

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For nearly three months I have been dealing with some serious chest pain, particularly when I try and take deep breathes, lay down, or bend or lean forward.  At times, the pain is unbearable.  

My family doc did some x-rays and sent me to a pulmenologist (assuming it was pleurisy?).  After meeting with him he ordered some blood work and a cat scan.  After getting the results he told me it wasn't pleurisy (and that that word was actually a "junk door" word that people use to describe lung stuff?).  What is wierd is that he told me the cat scan revealed that I had some fluid build up in both of my lungs?  That being said, the cat scan also suggested that I had fluid around my heart, so he ordered an echo-cartiagram (sp?), which I did.

All that to say this: the doc is convinced I don't have pleurisy.  He thought I had an autoimmune disease (lupus?).  Thus, he ordered tons of blood work.  I just left his office - all the blood work came back negative and the echo-cartiagram only found a small "trace" of fluid around my heart.  So at this point I am thinking: its gotta be pleurisy, right?  Wrong.

He just ordered an EKG.  Now he thinks I have something called pericarditis (sp?).  So here is my question/frustration: its been three months and we still don't know what I have.  I am in intense pain to boot!  Are there others out there who have had breathing pain for this long, and if so, what have you been diagnosied with and how have you been treated?  Could this really be my heart???

Thanks in advance,


1 like, 5 replies


5 Replies

  • Posted

    Ehunds, I too was told Pleurisy, and have the excruciating pain you speak of.

    It has been going on for couple months also, I was told something to do with the lining and separation of lungs?

    I'm going back to my internist tomorrow, and to cardiologist in December. I did have a PE couple years a go, but my Coumadin level has been therapeutic, and cat-scan didn't show clot.

    They too want to have me tested by rheumatologist for Lupus.

    Excuse my spelling.

    I haven't been able to keep up with any normal chores, or do anything I enjoy.

    It truly is becoming depressing too not take walks, go to Fall festivals.

    • Posted


      I suppose in some sick and mysterious way that misery loves company.  Though I certainly don't wish any pain or discomfort on you, it is somewhat reassuring to know that I am not the only anamoly out there.

      From what my doctor said, the main way they check for lupus is through what is called an ANA blood test.  Also, for what it is worthy, supposedly lupus is one of the hardest "things" to identify?

      I understand the whole depressing thing.  When days turn into weeks and weeks into months and you begin missing out on activities and events that are important to you, it can be pretty defeating - that is for sure.

      Persevere.  Endure.  Hang in there.  Sounds like you have an appointment tomorrow and another one next month.  Me thinks results are coming!

    • Posted

      Thank you Ehunds. I've been staying up so late since the pain makes it so hard to sleep.

      Hopefully I will start to find answers, and you too.

      I will let you know what happens at appointment tomorrow, please let me know of any news on your end.

      I better try to get some sleep.

      And I do know what you mean about misery and company.

      I was feeling like I was so alone, going crazy? Why I searched for place that hopefully someone knew too; and we could help each other.

  • Posted

    I had all the tests done too 5yrs ago agony right lung radiating all around my chest i thought heart attack

    i had a heart scan lung scan i was in that much pain&i couldnt breath i was sent for a full body scan&all bloods

    absolutely nothing bar fluid around 1lung so thinking all in my head i sat in pain at home for a long time with sweats and illness &my children ran around me it was all very disturbing

    2months later same thing finally i saw a doctor ahhh dry pleurisy ive had 5 bouts since &if i come in contact with ciggy smoke i become ill very quickly so i try to keep healthy.

    my symptoms severe pain all around my rib cage shortness of breath fever on&off glands up lethargic

    no coughing feeling like i was having a heart attack

    1 attack this yr so far x

  • Posted

    "absolutely nothing bar fluid around 1lung" - fluid around 1 lung is something could be Pleural effusion which is what I was diagnosed with after an X-ray revealed excessive water around my left lung. Symptoms were sharp/stabbing pains in my left upper chest, tired, exteme pain while inhaling. I was given steroid and antibiotic injections in the hosptal as well as a round of steroid and antibiotics to take for four days as well as a diruetic and inhaler, feeling better already, second day of meds. I go in for a follow-up next week to see in the fluid around my lung has decreased.

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