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Clinical Features of Empyema

In this post we shall discuss about the signs, symptoms and clinical features of acute and chronic Empyema.

Empyema is the presence of pus in the pleural cavity.

Clinical Features of Acute Empyema


Due to Toxemia: Anorexia, sweats, malaise and loss of weight.

Due to Primary Disease: Sudden rise in temperature along with fever and rigors.

Due to Mechanical Effect: Dyspnea, Cough, Chest Pain and Sputum


Edema of chest wall

Clubbing develops within 2-3 weeks of onset

On percussion

Stony dull percussion on involved side

On inspection

Bilaterally symmetrical chest

Asymmetric movement of chest on affected side

On Auscultation

Absence of vocal resonance

Diminished breath sounds on affected area

Amorphic bronchial breathing heard at apex of pleural effusion at interscapular region of the involved side

Clinical Features of Chronic Empyema

Chest pain and fever

Anemia and loss of weight

Chronic sinus tracts in skin or lungs

Deformity from fibrosis


If bronchopleural fistula is present, air can be heard/felt through a sinus during coughing

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