Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Ital Chir. 2007 Jul-Aug;78(4):307-10.

Therapy of the empyema thoracis. Why not thoracostoma?

Author information

Department of Thoracic Surgery, General State Hospital of Nikaia, Piraeus Agios Panteleimon, Greece.


Empyema toracis can be defined as a purulent pleural effusion. From 1998 to 2003 we treated 106 patients (87 men and 19 women), aged between 23 and 82 years, affected by localized empyema toracis. All of them received initially a chest tube and 73 of them (60 men and 13 women), in combination with selected antibiotics, had an uneventful recovery. Twenty three patients (17 men and 5 women) underwent thoracotomy and pleural decortication, and 7 patients (6 men and 1 woman) underwent open drainage, that means a thoracostoma. All these 7 patients were affected by chronic empyema: 3 of them with residual post-pneumectomy empyema (1 for lung cancer and 2 for tubercular lung disease); 3 had destroyed lung and 1 was suffering for multiorgan deficiency (respiratory, cardiac and chronic renal insufficiency). The thoracostoma procedure was under general tube anaesthesia with tracheal intubation. The mean surgical time was 26 minutes. The mean postoperative hospital stay was 10 days. In this period of time no death has been recorded or any kind of complication. Before the dismission all of them were teached with their familiars how to take care of the remaining thoracostoma. After the dismission all the patients were followed as outpatients for a variable period, for 14 and 36 months. During this period there were neither complications nor recidives, and all the patients have accepted the "thoracostoma" as a new way of life. Therefore thoracostoma appears as an acceptable, useful and no dangerous solution for the treatment of the chronic thoracic empyema.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center