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Kaohsiung J Med Sci. 2010 Jan;26(1):45-9. doi: 10.1016/S1607-551X(10)70008-5.

Co-existence of posttraumatic empyema thoracis and lung abscess in a child after blunt chest trauma: a case report.

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Department of Pediatrics, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Posttraumatic empyema is a rare complication of trauma with an incidence of 1.6-2.4% in trauma patients. However, it is rarely reported in children. We report the case of a 15-year-old boy who was involved in a traffic accident and diagnosed with a pulmonary contusion at a local hospital. Fourteen days after the accident, posttraumatic empyema thoracis and lung abscess developed with clinical presentations of fever, productive cough and right chest pain. He was successfully treated with computed tomography-guided catheter drainage and intravenous cefotaxime. We emphasize that posttraumatic empyema thoracis and lung abscess are very rare in children, and careful follow-up for posttraumatic lung contusion is essential. Image-guided catheter drainage can be an adjunctive tool for treating selected patients, although most complicated cases of posttraumatic empyema thoracis require decortication therapy.

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