Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Surg. 2000 Jan;179(1):1-6.

Improved patient outcome after surgical treatment for loculated empyema.

Author information

University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Orange 92868-3298, USA.



Empyemas complicate the hospital course of many patients. Advanced stages of empyema often require surgical intervention.


A retrospective review of 70 adult patients with empyema, hospitalized between the years of 1992 and 1997, was performed. Data on age, length of stay, comorbidities, diagnostic studies, and treatment was obtained. We compared patient outcome from patients with loculated empyemas who had surgical treatment and those who were managed nonsurgically.


Seventy patient records were reviewed, 37 of which were of patients with loculated empyemas. Parapneumonic empyemas comprised 60% of all cases. Chest radiographs, computed tomography scan, and thoracentesis were the most common studies performed in both groups. Thirty-three patients with the radiographic finding of a loculated empyema were treated with either surgical decortication or tube thoracostomy.


Empyemas at various stages of development require different forms of therapy; advanced empyemas treated early with decortication have a shorter duration of treatment, lower incidence of recurrence and fewer complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for eScholarship, California Digital Library, University of California
Loading ...
Support Center