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J Pediatr Surg. 1986 Jul;21(7):596-600.

Drainage of pediatric lung abscess by cough, catheter, or complete resection.


We treated eight children, aged 7 weeks to 17 years, for lung abscess. Each abscess followed an episode of aspiration or a bacterial pneumonia. Associated conditions were leukemia, congenital immune deficiency, endocarditis, cerebral palsy, and prematurity. Seven of the 8 children had polymicrobial infections, usually containing both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. The success of medical treatment by antibiotics and chest physiotherapy was age related; 3 of the 8 children, aged 10 to 17 years, recovered on this regimen, whereas five children, aged 7 weeks to 7 years, required catheter drainage or resection for cure. Drainage by catheter pneumonostomy was performed for solitary peripheral bacterial abscesses. A large intercostal catheter was inserted into the cavity, either operatively or percutaneously. Wedge resection was performed for multiple, central, or fungal abscesses. Pneumonostomy was curative in 3 of 4 children. One chronic abscess recurred after pneumonostomy and required resection. Wedge resection was curative in the two children who came to thoracotomy; lobectomy was not necessary. Although all eight children recovered from their lung abscesses, three of them died within a year of sepsis. Lung abscess today occurs in immunocompromised children who are vulnerable to fatal infections. Chest physiotherapy is unlikely to achieve good drainage in children under 7 years of age. Medical failures can be identified within the first week of treatment. Early and aggressive surgical treatment is indicated in such children, and may be lifesaving.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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