2010 Volume 49 Issue 18 Pages 1957-1964
Background Empyema due to Candida species is a rare entity, and the significance of isolation of Candida species from the pleural effusion is not fully understood.
Objective To elucidate the clinical features of Candida empyema.
Methods We retrospectively reviewed the cases of 128 patients with culture-positive empyema.
Results These 128 patients included 7 whose cause of empyema was esophago- or gastropleural fistula. Empyema was due to Candida species in 5 of the 7 patients. Primary diseases of these 5 patients were spontaneous esophageal rupture in 3 patients, esophageal rupture due to lung cancer invasion in 1 patient, and gastric ulcer perforation in 1 patient. None of these 5 patients had esophageal candidiasis. Among the 121 other patients with empyema not due to esophago- or gastropleural fistula, no patient had empyema due to Candida.
Conclusion We believe that the empyema in these 5 patients was caused by normal commensal Candida species entering the pleural cavity when the fistula between the gastrointestinal tract and pleural cavity was formed. Isolation of Candida species can be an important clue for suspecting gastrointestinal tract perforation as a cause of empyema.