Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Thoracic Surgery


Dr. Nancy Reid


Pleural empyema describes a collection of infected fluid involving the pleural cavity. Although most commonly a complication of pneumonia, this condition can also occur as a result of trauma, iatrogenic causes, or extension of infections from anatomical regions adjacent to the pleural cavity. The diagnosis of pleural empyema is secured through sampling and analysis of pleural fluid with the mainstays of treatment including antibiotic administration as well as drainage of the infected fluid. Early recognition with prompt initiation of treatment and referral to an appropriate specialist is vital to ensuring a good patient outcome. Therefore, it is important for clinicians to maintain a high index of suspicion as the presenting signs and symptoms are non-specific.


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