Pleural Cavity

Pleural Cavity: The space between the parietal and visceral layers of the pleura. The pleural cavity (also called pleural space) is a potential space, meaning that it is normally not occupied with anything more than a tiny amount fluid that serves as a lubricant for the visceral and parietal pleural surfaces. The pressure within the pleural cavity is normally negative (i.e., a vacuum) with respect to the atmosphere and this helps keep the lung inflated to the fullest extent possible. However, if the lung surface or chest wall is damaged, air can enter the pleural cavity resulting in collapse of the lung (see pneumothorax). Fluid can also accumulate in these spaces (see pleural effusion) and compress the lungs, thus impairing breathing.


   •   •   •

Pleural Cavity: Paired but separate cavity within the Thoracic Cavity. It consists of the space between the parietal and visceral Pleura and normally contains a capillary layer of serous fluid that lubricates the pleural surfaces.2

Anatomy Articles

Read about these related anatomy topics:

Symptom Articles

Read about these related symptoms:

  • Collapse: Collapse may refer to a person falling or fainting, illness-related fatigue, or may refer to the physical collapse of a joint or body organ. A person collapsing suddenly may ...

      ... More on Collapse  »

Disease and Condition Articles

Read about these related conditions and diseases:

  • Pneumothorax: Pneumothorax is the occurrence of air in the pleural space around the lungs. This means that the air is inside the chest, but inappropriately outside of the lung. Causes may ...

      ... More on Pneumothorax  »

  • Pleural Effusion: Pleural effusion is fluid between the layers of the pleura in the lungs. It is often related to Pleurisy, another disorder of the pleura. Typical symptoms of pleural effusion are ...

      ... More on Pleural Effusion  »

Related Symptom Topics

Read more about these related symptoms:

... More »

Related Disease and Condition Topics

Read about these diseases and medical conditions related to Pleural Cavity:

... More »

   •   •   •


  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ rld/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

   •   •   •

Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.