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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pleural fibrosis

03/31/2009

Question:

What is the difference between pleural fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis? What is the long term outlook for patients with pleural fibrosis?

Answer:

Pulmonary fibrosis is when scar tissue develops in the lung. Pleural fibrosis is when scar tissue develops in the outside lining of the lung, called the pleura.

These are very different conditions with different causes. Many things can cause pleural fibrosis including irritation of the pleura from surgery, trauma, or bleeding. Infections such as tuberculosis or a type of pleural infection called empyema can cause pleural fibrosis. Certain medications can cause scar tissue to build up in the pleura as can certain occupational exposures such as asbestos.

The long-term outlook for pleural fibrosis is generally better than for pulmonary fibrosis but can vary depending on the cause of the pleural fibrosis.

For more information:

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University