Factors affecting morbidity in chronic tuberculous empyema

Sonmezoglu Y., Turna A., Cevilk A., Demir A., Sayar A., Dincer Y., ...More

THORACIC AND CARDIOVASCULAR SURGEON, no.2, pp.99-102, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Background: Chronic empyema is not a rare complication of pulmonary tuberculosis. Various treatment modalities ranging from open drainage to pneumonectomy, depending on the status of the disease, have been used to treat this complication. However, the best strategy for this disease remains unknown. This study examined the results of different treatment strategies for chronic tuberculous empyema. Methods: Between January 1993 and December 2002, 36 patients (29 male and 7 female) with an average age of 29.3 years (range 13-52 years) presented with chronic tuberculous empyema characterized by empyema cavity and persistent pleural infections that were secondary to tuberculosis. The series consisted of patients who had had tube thoracostomy and underwater drainage without complete re-expansion. All patients were treated with open drainage. Of these, 6 patients had Eloesser flap for complete drainage of pleural pus and resolution of pleural infection. Results: Eloesser-flap drainage resulted in a higher morbidity compared to the open-drainage-only method (p = 0.011). Pneumonectomy, used as a final therapeutic option, resulted in more complications postoperatively (p = 0.034). Antituberculosis therapy lasting six months or longer reduced the morbidity rate (54% vs. 33.3%), but the difference was not significant. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that open drainage leads to better results compared to those of Eloesser flap in patients with chronic tuberculous empyema. Patients who underwent pneumonectomy were expected to have higher complication rates and the procedure must therefore be avoided when possible.