THE UNRESTRICTED administration of the wide-spectrum antibiotics to inflammatory diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract has effected a remarkable reduction in incidence of and mortality due to empyemata thoracis. The general impression that similar changes may have occurred in the predisposing etiological factors, clinical course of, and complications of empyema of the thorax prompted this review of the experience of the past few years in order to evaluate current concepts of therapy.
The patients included in this study were limited to infants and children admitted to the Children's Hospital of Michigan from January, 1949, to July, 1953. It was felt that by limiting the study in this manner, rather than including our experience during this period at various other institutions, a more representative evaluation of relative incidence and indications for the various therapeutic measures would result. All the children in this study had collections of exudate in