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Pleural cavity

In anatomy, the pleural cavity is the potential space between the lungs and the chest wall. It has virtually nothing in it in the normal non-diseased state, except a small amount of pleural fluid. The cavity is lined by specialized epithelium called pleura. The pleura that is connected to the chest wall is called the parietal pleura and is highly sensitive to pain. The pleura that is connected to the lung and other visceral tissues is called the visceral pleura, is not sensitive to pain and has a dual blood supply, from the bronchial and pulmonary arteries. There is no anatomical connection between the left and right pleural cavities, as they are separated by the mediastinum.

The pleura and pleural fluid function to preserve a vacuum state that enables breathing. This function of the pleural cavity can be disrupted in several ways:

An older term, pleurisy, is sometimes encountered: it indicated an inflammation of the pleura, especially one causing painful respiration, and could be provoked by a variety of infectious and non-infectious causes.