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[em-pee-ee-muh, -pahy-] /ˌɛm piˈi mə, -paɪ-/
noun, Pathology
a collection of pus in a body cavity, especially the pleural cavity.
Also called pyothorax.
1605-15; < Late Latin < Greek empýēma abscess, equivalent to em- em-2 + pyē- (variant stem of pyeîn to suppurate, akin to pýon, pýos pus) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action
Related forms
empyemic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for empyema


noun (pl) -emata (-ˈiːmətə), -emas
a collection of pus in a body cavity, esp in the chest
Derived Forms
empyemic, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin, from Greek empuēma abscess, from empuein to suppurate, from puon pus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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empyema in Medicine

empyema em·py·e·ma (ěm'pī-ē'mə)
n. pl. em·py·e·ma·ta (-mə-tə)
The presence of pus in a body cavity, especially the pleural cavity.

em'py·e'mic adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for empyema

accumulation of pus in a cavity of the body, usually in the pleura, which are the serous membranes covering the lungs. Empyema is the result of a microbial, usually bacterial, infection in a body cavity. Thoracic empyema may be characterized by fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and weight loss, and the presence of fluid as ascertained by a chest X-ray. Treatment is directed at drainage of small amounts of pus through a needle or larger amounts through a drainage tube. Video-assisted thoracic surgery or open-chest surgery is sometimes needed to eviscerate thick or compartmentalized pus from the pleural space. Antibiotics are used to treat the underlying infection. Empyemas may also result from the infection of an obstructed gallbladder with a bacterial organism, in which case the high risk of perforation and systemic infection requires the immediate removal of the infected organ

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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