Disposition

The treatment of choice for lung abscesses is conservative medical management, with the length of therapy dictated by the patient's clinical course and documented radiographic improvement. Most uncomplicated cases require admission to a hospital and a 2- to 3-week course of parenteral antimicrobial therapy.

Most patients with a lung abscess who respond to conservative medical management usually recover with no adverse sequelae. Patients typically become afebrile in 7 to 10 days with appropriate antimicrobial treatment. If patients respond to therapy, they can complete oral antibiotic therapy over a period of 4 to 8 weeks. If a patient is seriously ill or fails to improve after a course of appropriate antibiotic therapy, other interventions may be required to facilitate drainage. Such interventions, previously discussed, may include thoracentesis and percutaneous drainage of the abscess with computed tomography (CT) or fluoroscopic guidance.

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