Tension Empyema Thoracis

Ooko PB, Ongondi M, White RE

Tenwek Hospital

Correspondence to: Dr. Philip Blasto Ooko, P.O Box 39 Bomet 20400, Kenya. Email:ookophilip@gmail.com


Tension empyema is a rare and life threatening complication of pleural space infection requiring emergent drainage to restore cardio-respiratory function. The authors report a case of a 27-year-old male patient with pulmonary tuberculosis, who presented with severe dyspnea, right sided chest pain, and persistent cough. He subsequently developed cardiovascular collapse requiring an emergent right chest tube which drained over 2 liters of pus under pressure. The cardiovascular system stabilized and he subsequently underwent decortication for trapped lung and had an uneventful postoperative stay. Tension empyema should be considered as a differential in young patients without a history of trauma, thoraco-abdominal procedures or thoracic surgery, who present with cough, fever and chest pain, with clinical findings of cardiovascular collapse.

Keywords: Tension Empyema, Tuberculosis, Cardiac Arrest, Thoracostomy.

Ann Afr Surg. 2015; 12(2): 109-10.


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