Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
 
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-17

Empyema thoracis: A clinical study


1 Dept. of TB and Chest Diseases, Kasturba Medical College, Attavar, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Dept. of TB and Chest Diseases, B.J. Medical College, New Civil Hospital, Meghaninagar, Ahmedabad, India

Correspondence Address:
Preetam Rajgopal Acharya
C-I, 21, R.N.E. Quarters, (K.M.C. Staff Quarters), Light House Hill Road, Hampankatta, Mangalore
India
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DOI: 10.4103/1817-1737.30356

PMID: 19724669

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Background: Empyema thoracis is a disease that, despite centuries of study, still causes significant morbidity and mortality. Aim: The present study was undertaken to study the age-sex profile, symptomatology, microbiologic findings, etiology and the management and treatment outcome in a tertiary care hospital. Settings and Design: A prospective study of empyema thoracis was conducted on 40 consecutive patients with empyema thoracis admitted to the tuberculosis and chest diseases ward of a teaching hospital. Materials and Methods: The demographic data, clinical presentation, microbiological findings, etiology, the clinical course and management were recorded as per a planned pro forma and analyzed. Results: The peak age was in the range of 21-40 years, the male-to-female ratio was 3.4:1.0 and the left pleura was more commonly affected than the right pleura. Risk factors include pulmonary tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, smoking, diabetes mellitus and pneumonia. Etiology of empyema was tubercular in 65% cases and nontubercular in 35% cases. Gram-negative organisms were cultured in 11 cases (27.5%). Two patients received antibiotics with repeated thoracentesis only, intercostal chest tube drainage was required in 38 cases (95%) and more aggressive surgery was performed on 2 patients. The average duration for which the chest tube was kept in the complete expansion cases was 22.3 days. Conclusion: It was concluded that all cases of simple empyema with thin pus and only those cases of simple empyema with thick pus where size of empyema is small should be managed by aspiration/s. Cases failed by the above method, all cases of simple empyema with thick pus and with moderate to large size of empyema and all cases of empyema with bronchopleural fistula should be managed by intercostal drainage tube connected to water seal. It was also observed that all cases of empyema complicated by bronchopleural fistula were difficult to manage and needed major surgery.


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