The addition of sulfonamides and penicillin to our therapeutic armamentarium has changed radically the treatment of many infectious diseases. Treatment of empyema with the newer agents was tried with varying results. According to most authorities, empyema is a disease usually requiring open or continuous closed drainage. Early thoracotomy is recommended in pneumococcic empyemas. Repeated aspirations are ordinarily performed in postpneumonic streptococcic empyemas until the underlying inflammatory process subsides and the purulent exudate becomes thickened, when thoracotomy with rib resection is performed.
The mortality of empyema varies with the etiology, the virulence of the infecting organisms and the resistance of the patient. Moschcowitz's1 mortality figures for empyema in patients of all ages vary between 18.9 per cent and 45 per cent and he quotes Graham's figure for average mortality in army camps from empyema as 30.2 per cent. It is well known that in anaerobic infections following lung abscesses prognosis
RUDENSKY H, SPRONG DH, WOODS CC. THE MEDICAL TREATMENT OF ACUTE EMPYEMA: REPORT OF FIVE CASES CURED WITH CHEMOTHERAPY AND THORACENTESES. JAMA. 1945;128(8):573–577. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860250019005
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