Pleura - Definition

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The pleura is a very thin but extremely strong chest membrane made up of two layers separated by an empty space, referred to as the pleural space. The two layers are therefore separate and able to move independently. The layer closest to the lungs is called the visceral pleura or pulmonary pleura and surrounds the outside of the lungs, while the parietal pleuralines the inside of the chest cavity. The pleura is notably involved in protecting the lungs by absorbing shocks and keeping out certain viruses and bacteria. When there is fluid inside the pleural space it is called pleurisy, and when there is gas, it is called pneumothorax.