empyema (ĕmpē-ēˈmə) [key], persistent purulent discharge into a cavity such as the pleural space or the gallbladder. Empyema results as a complication of bacterial infections such as pneumonia and lung abscess. It is now relatively rare because of the widespread availability of therapy for the infections that precipitate the disease.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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