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How is empyema diagnosed?

Abnormal findings, such as decreased breath sounds or a friction rub, may be noted when listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation). Empyema most often is due to extension of infection from pneumonia. Staphylococcal, gram negative and anaerobic infections are common infections presenting in this mode. Anaerobic infections can seed pleura and start as the primary site of infection without a preceding pneumonitis. It could also follow contamination of pleural space from non-sterile pleural taps. The diagnosis of empyema is usually confirmed by analyzing a sample of fluid taken from the pleural cavity. The sample is obtained by a procedure called thoracentesis.

More information on empyema

What is empyema? - Empyema is the presence of gross pus in the pleural cavity; it consists of an effusion containing polymorphonuclear leukocytes and fibrin.
What causes empyema? - Empyema is caused by an infection that often spreads from the lungs following pneumonia. A subdural empyema may result from a sinus infection, a severe ear infection.
What're the symptoms of empyema? - The signs and symptoms of empyema vary somewhat according to the location of the infection and its severity.
How is empyema diagnosed? - The diagnosis of empyema is usually confirmed by analyzing a sample of fluid taken from the pleural cavity.
What's the treatment for empyema? - The goal of treatment for empyema is to cure the infection and remove the collection of pus from the lung.
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