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Postgrad Med. 1997 Jun;101(6):195-6, 201-4.

Treating empyema without surgery.

Author information

  • 1Intensive Care Unit, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Berlin, New Hampshire 03570, USA.

Erratum in

  • Postgrad Med 1998 Feb;103(2):26.


Normally, the pleural spaces contain sterile lubricating fluid that enables smooth expansion and contraction of the lungs. But when microorganisms gain entry, directly or through contiguous spread of infection, the fluid becomes increasingly dense and viscous as purulence progresses. This article outlines clinical, radiographic, and pleural fluid features that can aid in distinguishing between pleural collections that usually respond to medical therapy and those that probably require surgical intervention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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