ZocdocAnswersCould my shortness of breath be due to empyema?

Question

Could my shortness of breath be due to empyema?

I was reading the symptoms of empyema and I think it is what is wrong with me. I have shortness of breath and pain in my chest at various times in the day. How can I get tested for empyema? Is it something a doctor can find in an examination?

Answer

It is pretty unlikely that the cause of your pain is empyema. Empyema is a collection of pus and inflammation around the lung, and it generally occurs after a serious pneumonia and other lung infection. For this reason, it would be really unusual to develop empyema out of the blue like this without a history of a reason serious lung infection. Nevertheless, shortness of breath and pain in the chest are both serious symptoms which do need to be evaluated right away by your doctor. I would make an appointment as soon as possible and, if you are actively having chest pain that is severe, you should go to the emergency room for evaluation instead of waiting. The first thing that always needs to be ruled out when ever dealing with chest pain and shortness of breath is a heart attack. Your doctor can rule this out by listening to the exact symptoms you have as well as by performing some basic tests, such as an electrocardiogram and some blood tests. After this, they will also consider the long list of other potential causes of your symptoms, such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, blood clots, and several other conditions, and they may order additional tests to figure things out.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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