management

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Postural drainage is important in the management of a lung abscess. The most satisfactory position is determined by radiological localisation.

Antibiotics therapy depends on the organism:

  • blind cover:
    • gentamicin, with close monitoring for toxic effects
    • benzylpenicillin
    • metronidazole, to cover anaerobic organisms

  • definitive treatment, for example:
    • flucloxacillin for staphylococcusMedical treatment is often successful but healing may take several weeks.

Percutaneous drainage of a lung abscess is usually reserved for patients in whom the abscess cavity does not communicate with the bronchus or those in whom medical treatment and physiotherapy fails.

Foreign bodies and some cavitating tumours may be removed surgically.

Last reviewed 01/2018