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Revista médica de Chile

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PAZ C, Fernando et al. Prognostic factors in complicated pleural empyema in children. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2001, vol.129, n.11, pp.1289-1296. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Complicated pleural empyema has a torpid and longer clinical evolution, requiring in some patients surgical management. The predictive factors for surgical treatment are not well known. Aim: To search for clinical, laboratory or radiological predictors for the requirement of surgical treatment in pediatric patients with empyema. Patients and methods: A retrospective review of the charts of 108 patients hospitalized for pneumonia plus pleural effusion at the Pediatric Service of the Catholic University Hospital between January 1985 and July 2000. Results: Eighty one patients had complete radiological evaluation and pleural fluid biochemical analysis. Forty nine (60%) fulfilled the criteria for empyema and 32 (40%) for an exudate. Thirteen patients with empyema required surgery and 36 were treated medically. The mean age was 3 years (range 9 months-6 years) for the surgically treated and 4 years (range 12 months-14 years) for the non-surgical group. The male/female ratio was 5:1 in the surgical group and 1:1 for the non-surgical group. Pleural fluid cultures were positive in 21 of 79 patients. Streptococcus pneumonia was the most frequently isolated agent. No significant differences were found between groups for the average days of fever prior to the diagnosis or total days of fever, days of hospital stay, pleural fluid pH (6.8 and 7.0 respectively) and glucose (21 and 31 mg/dl respectively). No differences were either observed for pleural fluid risk factors (pH < 7 and glucose <20mgdl), the presence of extensive pleural effusions, pleural loculations or bands on pleural ultrasonography and positive Gram stain or cultures in the pleural fluid. Surgical patients required oxygen for more days than medical patients (7.7 and 5.1 days; p=0.037). Conclusions: This study failed to find predictive clinical, radiological or pleural fluid parameters, for the requirement of surgical treatment of empyema (Rev Méd Chile 2001; 129: 1289-96).

Keywords : Empyema, pleural; Pleural diseases; Pleural effusion.

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