Tuberculous empyema

Tuberculous empyema is a chronic, active infection of the pleural space characterized by a thick rind of pleura with dense and irregular calcification of both the parietal and visceral pleura usually surrounding a loculated pleural fluid which contains a large number of tubercle bacilli 1. This could act as a fibrothorax

It is different from the more common tuberculous pleural effusion which is an inflammatory response to a localized paucibacillary pleural infection with tuberculosis.

Treatment and prognosis

Treatment consists of pleural space drainage, decortication to allow re-expansion of the trapped lung and decortication plus pneumonectomy to remove a lung 2. Adjuvant antituberculous chemotherapy may also be given, but usually leads to development of drug resistance as the drugs are unable to cross the thick calcified pleural barrier 3

See also

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Article information

rID: 29055
System: Chest
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Chronic TB empyema
  • TB empyema
  • Chronic tuberculous empyema
  • Chronic tuberculous empyemas
  • Tuberculous empyemas
  • Empyema from mycobacterium tuberculosis

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: chronic tuberculous empyema
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