How is it diagnosed?

An empyema is usually suspected when a person with severe pneumonia does not improve with treatment, and they start to show some of the above symptoms.

If the patient is coughing up mucus,a sample of this should be taken to be inspected under a microscope.Thetype of bacteria causing theinfection is identified so the most effective antibiotics can be given.

A blood sample will also be taken, to count the number of white blood cells and other markers of infection.

An X-ray or ultrasound scan will show whether there is a collection of fluid building up around the lungs and how much there is. Often a CT scan may also be used to give a more detailed assessment.

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Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018