Lung abscess in children

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2007 Mar;8(1):77-84. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2006.10.002. Epub 2007 Feb 14.


Lung abscess is an uncommon paediatric problem, with a paucity of quality data on the subject in the medical literature. Although the condition has for many years been managed successfully with prolonged courses of intravenous antibiotics, the evolution of interventional radiology has seen the use of percutaneously placed 'pigtail catheters' inserted under ultrasound and computed tomography guidance become the mainstay of therapy where such resources are available. This has been suggested to result in a more rapid defervescence of fever and symptoms, shorter periods of intravenous antibiotics and a decreased length of inpatient care. More invasive procedures, aspiration and drainage, together with improved microbiological diagnostic techniques, including polymerase chain reaction testing, has increased the yield of pathogens identified from abscess fluid samples. Culture results will guide treatment, especially for immunocompromised subjects who may develop a lung abscess as a complication of their underlying condition. The predominant pathogens isolated from primary lung abscesses in children include streptococcal species, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Children with a lung abscess, both primary and secondary, have a significantly better prognosis than adults with the same condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Abscess* / diagnosis
  • Lung Abscess* / etiology
  • Lung Abscess* / therapy