Article Text

Download PDFPDF
To drain or not to drain? Abscess or empyema?
  1. Helen McDill1,
  2. Maged Hassan2,
  3. Graham Dack3,
  4. Lindsey Taylor1,
  5. David Waine1,
  6. John P Corcoran1,
  7. Cyrus Daneshvar1
  1. 1 Respiratory Medicine, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK
  2. 2 Chest Diseases Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
  3. 3 Radiology, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen McDill, Respiratory Medicine, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth PL6 8DH, UK; h.mcdill{at}


We present a case posing the clinical dilemma of differentiating a large peripheral lung abscess from an empyema, discussing the imaging and management and the clinical issues posed.

  • empyema
  • imaging/CT MRI etc
  • respiratory infection

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Twitter @magedhmf

  • Contributors HM and MH conceived the report. HM, MH, LT, DW, JPC and CD treated the patient. HM and MH collected the images of the report. GD reviewed the radiology of the case. Mr Adrian Marchbank provided the surgical opinion. HM drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.