Lung abscess: 14 years of experience in a tertiary paediatric hospital

Dhanushke T. Fernando, Rudra Bhatt, Aarti Saiganesh, André Schultz, Parshotam Gera

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Background: Lung abscess is a rare condition in paediatrics with a paucity of literature. Intravenous antibiotics is the main therapy; however interventional radiological approaches have led to the use of percutaneous drainage. Surgery is reserved for the management of complications. The aim of this study was to describe lung abscess in a cohort of paediatric patients' and determine associations between factors at presentation and outcomes. Methods: A 14-year retrospective cohort study was conducted including all children who presented to a tertiary paediatric hospital in Western Australia with lung abscess. Clinical characteristics, laboratory and radiologic findings, management options and clinical outcomes were examined. Results: Sixty-eight patients (median age 3.6 (0.08–17.6) years; 44.1% female) were identified to have a lung abscess, with 81% being primary lung abscess. Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA) and Streptococcus pneumoniae were the most common organisms identified, with S. aureus being most common in Aboriginal patients (80%). A total of 25 antibiotics were prescribed on initiation of treatment in over 20 combinations. 44.9% of patients had complications and hospitalization was prolonged. Patients with S. aureus had longer hospitalization (20.5 days (3–67) than those without (median 13 days (3–52), p = 0.04). There were no associations between factors at presentation and subsequent outcomes. Factors at presentation were not associated with outcomes. Conclusion: There is unwarranted variation in management of paediatric lung abscess and high complication rates. There is a need for collaboration and clinical practice guidelines to standardize care for lung abscess in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1850-1855
Number of pages6
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number7-8
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


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