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Acta Paediatr. 2010 Oct;99(10):1449-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01863.x.

Local treatment of empyema in children: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Pneumonology and Allergy, The Medical University of Warsaw, Poland.


The aim of the study is to systematically evaluate data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the efficacy of using intrapleural fibrinolytic agents in the treatment of complicated parapneumonic effusions or empyema in children. The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched in July 2009. Four RCTs, involving 194 children, were included. In two RCTs, intrapleural fibrinolytic treatment was compared with normal saline. One of these RCTs showed a significantly reduced hospital stay in those treated with urokinase compared with those treated with normal saline. Otherwise, no fibrinolytic agent had an effect on any other outcome. Two RCTs that compared fibrinolytic treatment with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) revealed no benefit of VATS.


There is little evidence that intrapleural fibrinolysis is more effective than normal saline in the local treatment of complicated parapneumonic effusions or empyema in children. There is no evidence that VATS is more effective than fibrinolytic treatment. Only a limited number of trials were available for analysis, so some caution must be exercised in interpreting the strength of the evidence presented.

© 2010 The Author(s)/Journal Compilation © 2010 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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