OBJECTIVESEmpyema is a well-known complication following lung resection. In particular, empyema caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is difficult to treat. Here, we present our experience of MRSA empyema treated with local irrigation using arbekacin.METHODSSix patients consisted of 4 males and 2 females with an average age of 65.7 years. They developed MRSA empyema following lung resection and were treated at our institution between 2007 and 2011. Cases comprised four primary and one metastatic lung cancer, and 1 patient was a living lung transplantation donor. The surgical procedure consisted of four lobectomies, one segmentectomy and one wedge resection. After diagnosis of MRSA empyema, anti-MRSA drugs were administered intravenously in all cases. In addition, arbekacin irrigation at a dose of 100 mg dissolved in saline was performed after irrigation with saline only.RESULTSThe average number of postoperative days for the diagnosis of MRSA empyema was 13 (range 4-19). The period of irrigation ranged from 6 to 46 days. Arbekacin irrigation did not induce nephrotoxicity or other complications, and no bacteria resistant to arbekacin was detected in the thoracic cavity. We re-operated on 1 case because he had pulmonary fistula and severe wound infection. At the time of removing the thoracic catheter, MRSA in the pleural effusion disappeared completely in 3 patients. The period until MRSA concentration in the pleural effusion became negative after starting arbekacin irrigation ranged from 4 to 9 days. In the remaining cases, in which MRSA did not disappear, the catheter was removed because of no inflammatory reaction after stopping irrigation and clamping the catheters. All patients were discharged from our institution without thoracic catheterization and no patients had relapsed during the follow-up period ranging from 6 to 44 months.CONCLUSIONSIrrigation of the thoracic cavity with arbekacin proved to be an effective, safe and readily available method for treating MRSA empyema following lung resection.
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