Pleural Friction Rub

Original Editor - Chelsea McLene

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Pleural friction rub or Pleural rub, is an audible raspy breathing sound, a medical sign present in some patients with pleurisy and other conditions affecting the chest cavity. It can be noticed by listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope on the lungs.

These are the squeaking or grating sounds of the pleural linings rubbing together. It is best described as the sound made by treading on fresh[1] snow. Pleural rubs are common in pneumoniapulmonary embolism, and pleurisy. Because these sounds occur whenever the patient's chest wall moves, they appear [2]on inspiration and expiration.[3]

(Click here to read about the anatomy of pleura)

Pleural friction rub occurs when the two layers[4] of tissue become inflamed or if they lose the lubrication between them. A pleural friction rub may be a symptom of a serious lung condition.[5]


Causes[edit | edit source]

Diagnosis[edit | edit source]

Treatment[edit | edit source]

Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

  • Antibiotics: If the cause is bacterial infection, antibiotics are administered.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to control inflammation.
  • Chest tube: To drain any fluid buildup.
  • Surgery

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 ThinkLabs. Pleural Friction Rub. Available from: [last accessed 24/3/2021]
  2. Adderley N, Sharma S. Pleural Friction Rub. StatPearls [Internet]. 2020 Feb 21.
  3. Jantz MA, Antony VB. Pathophysiology of the pleura. Respiration. 2008;75(2):121-33.
  4. Charalampidis C, Youroukou A, Lazaridis G, Baka S, Mpoukovinas I, Karavasilis V, Kioumis I, Pitsiou G, Papaiwannou A, Karavergou A, Tsakiridis K. Pleura space anatomy. Journal of thoracic disease. 2015 Feb;7(Suppl 1):S27.
  5. Wang NS. Anatomy of the pleura. Clinics in chest medicine. 1998 Jun 1;19(2):229-40.