Conservative treatment of empyema in children

Respiration. 1993;60(3):182-5. doi: 10.1159/000196196.


Seventy-two children with no underlying diseases were treated for empyema. Radical surgical approaches like decortication were necessary for only 3 children. In 66 children tube drainage was applied. Staphylococcus aureus was cultured or was shown in Gram's stain in 32 (44%) and children with this microorganism had longer duration of tube drainage (p < 0.05). The period for normalization of chest X-ray was positively related with the age of the patient (p < 0.05). In 60 of 72 children, chest X-ray was normal after 3 months. Follow-up of the patients 18 months after the infection revealed that pulmonary radiograms were normal in all cases and pulmonary function tests were within normal limits in all of the tested children (n = 25). It is emphasized that avoiding major surgical approaches must be encouraged in childhood empyema.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Empyema, Pleural / physiopathology
  • Empyema, Pleural / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / physiopathology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy