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June 23, 1945


JAMA. 1945;128(8):568-573. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860250014004

The recent advances in the therapy of pneumonia with the sulfonamide compounds have reduced the frequency of the dreaded complication empyema thoracis. However, the management of this complication still remains a taxing problem to the surgeon and internist. The treatments advocated vary from the extremes of aspiration alone to the use of wide thoracotomy. Regardless of the procedure used, the aim in the management of acute empyema is essentially the same; that is, to institute efficient drainage of the pleural cavity, to permit the lung to reexpand and to obliterate the free pleural space in order to prevent the development of chronic empyema.

The therapeutic value of penicillin in the treatment of cases of pneumococcic, streptococcic and staphylococcic infections has been well established. The most recent results obtained from its use have been summarized in the detailed report by Keefer and his associates.1 The efficacy of penicillin in the