Empyema is described as pocket of pus that builds up within a body cavity. It might form in case a bacterial infection is not properly treated or did not to fully respond to treatment.
Remember that this is a serious condition that necessitates treatment. It can trigger chest pain, fever, coughing mucus and even shortness of breath. Although it might be occasionally dangerous, it is an uncommon condition since most bacterial infections can be effectively managed with antibiotics before progressing to this phase.
What are the possible causes?
The lungs and interior of the chest cavity are lined by the pleura. These players are separated by the pleural space which is filled with pleural fluid which functions as a lubricant.
There are instances where the pleural fluid builds up and ends up infected, thus a build up of pus forms. This might thicken and cause regions of the pleura to adhere together, resulting to pus pockets.
It is vital to bear in mind that empyema can worsen and progress to additional pus pouches with solid deposits that cover the exterior film of the lungs. These deposits disrupt the lungs from expanding optimally.
What are the signs?
Empyema can cause discomfort and can be distressing. It can trigger the following signs:
- Fever and night sweating
- Chest pain
- Lack of energy
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Cough with mucus that contains pus
How is empyema managed?
- Some cases require intravenous antibiotics along with hospitalization for a long period.
- Chest drain might be needed along with antibiotics. A chest drain is a flexible plastic tubing inserted via the chest wall and into the affected region to drain fluid.
- Surgical intervention to remove the lung lining might be an option if the condition does not seem to improve. An incision is created in the chest to gain entry to the lungs and the dense layer coating the lungs is removed to allow normal expansion.
- A stoma is an opening made in the chest. A special bag is positioned over the stoma to gather fluid leaking from the empyema.