Risk factors for the development of pleural empyema in children

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Jul;50(7):721-6. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23041. Epub 2014 Apr 1.


Pediatric pleural empyema has increased substantially over the past 20 years and reasons for this rise remain not fully explained. We investigated potential risk factors for the development of empyema in children by examining a cohort of patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Demographic, clinical, and socioeconomic characteristics, use of Ibuprofen prior to presentation and selected potential epidemiological risk factors were analyzed. Data were collected from a prospective etiological study of radiologically confirmed pneumonia in hospitalized children aged ≤16 years. One hundred sixty children were enrolled; 56% were male and 69% aged <5 years. Empyema complication developed in 40 (25%) children. Children with empyema were more frequently prescribed Ibuprofen prior to admission to hospital than those without (82% vs. 46.2%; OR 1.94, 97.5% credible interval 0.80-3.18). Bacterial infection was strongly associated with the development of empyema (OR 3.34, 97.5% credible interval 1.70-5.14). In contrast age, sex, maternal age, parental smoking, level of socioeconomic status, nursery attendance, asthma, household characteristics (bedrooms and number of occupants) were not significantly different between groups. In conclusion, children with pneumonia who developed empyema had more often received Ibuprofen prior to hospitalization and confirmed bacterial infection. We suggest a population-based study involving both primary and secondary care settings would help to investigate the role of Ibuprofen use in modulating the course of disease in children with pneumonia.

Keywords: Ibuprofen; empyema; pediatrics; pneumonia; risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Empyema, Pleural / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Ibuprofen