Lung Abscess in Infants and Children

Benjamin Emanuel, Stanford T Shulman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We retrospectively reviewed 18 cases of primary lung abscess and 10 cases of secondary lung abscess in infants and children during a 6-year period. Among 18 patients with primary abscesses, nine were boys and nine girls, from 9 months to 20 years old, but only two of 18 were less than 5 years old. Each had a solitary abscess. Location of abscesses included the right lower lobe (8), the right upper lobe (3), the left upper lobe (1), and the left lower lobe (6). One patient had Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteremia. Other bacterial isolates were from the upper respiratory tract and of uncertain significance. All patients recovered, although lobectomy was considered necessary in five patients because of failure to respond to intravenous antibiotic therapy. Secondary lung abscesses occurred in six boys and four girls who were from 2½ months to 13 years old. All 10 had solitary, right-sided lesions, seven in the right lower lobe and three in the right upper lobe. Bacteria of unclear significance were recovered from three of 10 patients, while two had documented gram-negative bacteremia. Three secondary abscess patients underwent lobectomy because of perceived inadequate response to medical therapy, including intravenous antibiotics. Based upon the literature and our experience, therapy for pulmonary abscess should include a parenteral antibiotic with gram-positive activity against both penicillinase-producing Staphylococcus aureus and anaerobes for a minimum of 3 weels. Lobectomy should be reserved for those patients with very severe abscesses and those who fail to manifest clinical and radiologic evidence of improvement after at least 3 weeks of appropriate intravenous antibiotic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-6
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)


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