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Volume 35, Number 2, June 2002

Clinical experience of managing empyema thoracis in children

Fang-Liang Huang, Po-Yen Chen, Jui-Shan Ma, Hsiu-Wen Yu, Kun-Chia Lu, Ching-Shiang Chi, Yeu-Jun Lau, Hai-Chyi Peng
Department of Pediatrics, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, ROC



Data of 54 children with a diagnosis of thoracic empyema at a medical center in central Taiwan from January 1991 through April 2001 were analyzed. Their mean age was 4.4 years and the mean hospital stay was 13 days. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common pathogen, followed by Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae. These patients were divided into 2 groups according to the treatment method. Twenty-two patients were treated successfully with antibiotics and tube thoracostomy, whereas the other 32 children required further pleural decortication with antibiotic treatment. In patients with empyema, decortication allowed for more rapid defervescence than did closed tube thoracostomy (1.94 vs 5.04 days; p<0.001) and there were no complications in the group that underwent decortication treatment (p<0.03). In conclusion, the decortication of loculated empyema thoracis in children is a safe and effective management procedure.



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2002;35:115-120