Cryptococcal empyema treated with tube thoracostomy and intrapleural fibrinolysis
A 55-year old woman with a history of relapsed T-cell ALL presented with right pleuritic chest pain and decreased breath sounds over the right hemithorax. Imaging of the chest showed loculated effusions. Tube thoracostomy was performed with intrapleural application of alteplase and dornase alpha over a 3-day period. Repeat imaging demonstrated a marked decrease in the volume of the effusion. In most prior published cases of pleural cryptococcosis, surgical drainage was required in addition to prolonged antifungal agents. More than 50% of patients with cryptococcal infection have severe underlying disease or immunodeficiency state making them high risk for surgery. This is the first case to our knowledge of cryptococcal empyema successfully treated with tube thoracostomy and intrapleural fibrinolysis.
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