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An empyema is a collection of pus in the pleural cavity caused by microorganisms, usually bacteria. Often it happens in the context of a pneumonia, injury, or chest surgery. It is one of various kinds of pleural effusion, which is a buildup of fluid between the tissues lining the lungs and the chest.


  • Chest pain, or sharp pain that worsens with cough or deep breaths.
  • Coughing
  • Chills and fever
  • Hiccups
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath