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Pleural infection is a relatively common complication of pneumonia with a broad aetiology. Parapneumonic effusions caused by an infection of the pleural membranes occur in 40-57% of cases of pneumonia. A variable percentage (10-20%) of parapneumonic effusions progresses to empyema (pus) and/or abscess formation (encapsulation). Pleural infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Diagnosis requires a multidisciplinary approach which may include respiratory physicians, thoracic surgeons, microbiologists and radiologists. Rigorous and prompt treatment with antibiotics, good clinical care and timely drainage of effusions remain the cornerstones of effective management. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Respiratory Medicine CME

Publication Date





107 - 110