• 1 Department of Paediatrics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia
J Trop Pediatr, 1995 06;41(3):185-8.
PMID: 7636941 DOI: 10.1093/tropej/41.3.185


In this study, 31 cases of childhood empyema thoracis admitted over 4 1/2 years to the Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, in Kelantan, Malaysia, were retrospectively reviewed. Twenty-two males and nine females were included, with a mean age of 1.9 years (range: 26 days to 7 years). Frequent symptoms were fever, cough, and dyspnoea, while common signs were temperature above 38 degrees C, decreased breath sounds, dullness to chest percussion, and intercostal recession. Radiography demonstrated unilateral moderate to large effusions in 68 per cent of cases, while consolidated lung was seen in 45 per cent of patients. Pleural fluid cultures were positive for Staphylococcus aureus (48 per cent), Streptococcus pneumoniae (7 per cent), while no growth was seen in 42 per cent of cases. Ninety-four per cent of children had a blood leukocytosis above 10 000 cell/mm3, but blood cultures were negative in 21 out of 26 patients (81 per cent). Most cases were treated with a combination of intravenous antibiotics and chest tube drainage. Antibiotics and pleural tap(s) were used in the remainder. Patients stayed in hospital for an average of 20.7 days (range: 4-52 days). Surgical intervention was necessary in only four children. The mortality rate at the time of discharge was zero, with 100 per cent radiographic resolution among the 23 patients who were followed-up.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.