Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Empyema, a collection of pus or matter in the pleural cavity. Inflammation of the pleural membrane [Pleurisy] is at times attended by the pouring out of fluid (pleurisy with effusion), such fluid may be serous or purulent. In the latter case the condition is said to be one of empyema. When matter forms in this way within the chest it is, as a rule, hopeless to expect, a cure unless an exit is afforded for the pent up pus. Sometimes the matter bursts into one of the air tubes, and is discharged by the month, more commonly it finds its way through the chest wall. The aim of the physician is to secure the evacuation of any collection of matter which may form at the earliest opportunity, and not to subject the patient to the tedious and exhausting process which is implied if the pus be allowed to find its own way to the surface. Inflammatory affections of the pleura in children are particularly apt to result in empyema. Treatment consists in removing matter by means of an aspirator, or in making a free opening, Under antiseptic precautions, through which the pus may discharge.