Effect of hemothorax on experimental empyema thoracis in the guinea pig

C. Mavroudis, B. L. Ganzel, S. Katzmark, H. C. Polk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experimental model for empyema thoracis in the Duncan-Harley guinea pig is introduced. Empyema thoracis developed and early death (less than 14 days after bacterial inoculation) were noted after various concentrations and species were inoculated into the pleural space with a piece of umbilical tape, which was used as a cofactor. The effect of concomitant hemothorax was also tested. Group I (N = 90) had intrapleural inoculation of umbilical tape and various concentrations (104, 106, 108 organisms/ml) of various bacterial species, which included Staphylococcus aureus (N = 30), Escherichia coli (N = 30), and Bacteroides fragilis (N = 30). Group II (N = 90) had intrapleural inoculation of umbilical tape, 1 ml of autologous blood, and the same varying concentrations and species of bacteria as Group I. The observation period was 14 days, during which time early deaths were noted. Fifty-eight percent of the staphylococcal group of animals, 3.7% of the E. coli group of animals, and none of the B. fragilis group of animals developed empyema. Animals with empyema developed significant weight loss (p < 0.05) and roentgenographic evidence of empyema, which was supported by postmortem pleural reaction and pneumonia scores (p < 0.05). Higher concentrations of inoculated bacteria produced a higher incidence of empyema in the S. aureus and E. coli groups (p < 0.05). Concomitant hemothorax increased the incidence of empyema and early death in the S. aureus group (p < 0.05), but concomitant hemothorax did not increase the already high incidence of empyema and early death in the E. coli group. Empyema caused by B. fragilis did not develop, even with cofactors of umbilical tape and blood. Anaerobic infections in this model may require the presence of other aerobic or facultative organisms, the presence of necrotic lung, prior malmutrition, or a combination thereof.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-49
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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