Pleural Diseases

Pleural diseases occur when the pleura – membrane that lines the inner side of the chest cavity and covers the lungs – becomes inflamed and causes difficulty breathing.

Tests and diagnosis

  •  Imaging tests is when physicians use a combination of x-ray, MRI, PET, and CT scans to view your entire chest in order to accurately diagnose pleural disease.
  • Blood tests are used in order to look for specific markers that may indicate pleural conditions.
  • Fine needle biopsy is when a tiny needle is inserted into the affected area. A small tissue sample is removed and then analyzed under a microscope to look for cellular changes.
  • Thoracoscopy is when a small incision is made in the chest so that a camera can be passed into the cavity between the lungs and chest wall. Visualization of this area and biopsies of suspicious areas may be collected.


  • Video-assisted pleurodesis is when a surgeon injects a chemical agent into the pleural space so that it irritates the area and eliminates the change for fluid buildup.

Contact us

Undiagnosed or no referral

If you have not been formally diagnosed yet, call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 to see your primary care provider to explore all possible causes of your symptoms. All thoracic procedures require a referral from a provider before scheduling.

Scheduling a procedure

If you have a referral for a thoracic procedure, contact the team at the facility where you want to have the procedure completed:

Allegheny General Hospital
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 359-6137

Forbes Hospital
2570 Haymaker Road
Monroeville, PA 15146

(412) 858-7088

Jefferson Hospital
565 Coal Valley Road
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025

(412) 469-7900

Saint Vincent Hospital
232 West 25th Street
Erie, PA 16544

(814) 453-7767