How is empyema detected in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019
  • Author: Stephanie L Baer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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On physical examination, empyema has the same findings as pleural effusion. Thoracentesis with analysis of pleural fluid for pH, cell counts, and Light criteria are helpful when differentiating simple pleural effusion from parapneumonic effusion from empyema. PCR, in addition to traditional culture methods, may be helpful to determine the bacterial pathogen, if necessary. [52]

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