Anatomy and Physiology of the Pleural Space

Reza John Mehran, Jean Deslauriers

Key Points

  • The pleura is made of two serosal membranes, one covering the lung (visceral pleura) and one covering the inner chest wall and mediastinum (parietal pleura).
  • The visceral pleura is devoid of somatic innervation, whereas the parietal pleura is innervated through a rich network of somatic, sympathetic, and parasympathetic fibers.
  • Pleural fluid is constantly secreted, mostly by filtration from the microvessels in the parietal pleura.
  • The resorption of pleural fluid may be through lymphatic stomata in the parietal pleura rather than through the visceral pleura.
  • The pleural pressure, which is subatmospheric, is proportional to the pressure developed within the lung.

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Last updated: May 22, 2022