Treatment for an empyema includes antibiotics, narcotic pain medications, and surgical tube drainage.
Treatment for an empyema includes:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
- Narcotic pain medication
- Antibiotics for an empyema:
- Thrombolytic agents:
- Used to unplug a malfunctioning chest drainage tube
- Used to break up adhesions within the pleural space
- Alteplase (Activase)
- Fluid is drained from the pleural space, but no tube is left in the chest cavity.
- Tube thoracostomy for an empyema:
- A tube is inserted into the chest to drain the infected fluid.
For more information:
Continue to Empyema Home Care
- Graham EA. Principles involved in the treatment of acute and chronic empyema. 1924. J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Aug;201(2):157. 
- Maskell NA, Davies CW, Nunn AJ, Hedley EL, Gleeson FV, Miller R, Gabe R, Rees GL, Peto TE, Woodhead MA, Lane DJ, Darbyshire JH, Davies RJ; First Multicenter Intrapleural Sepsis Trial (MIST1) Group. U.K. Controlled trial of intrapleural streptokinase for pleural infection. N Engl J Med. 2005 Mar 3;352(9):865-74. 
- Tsai TH, Jerng JS, Chen KY, Yu CJ, Yang PC. Community-acquired thoracic empyema in older people. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Jul;53(7):1203-9.