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About Sickkids
About SickKids

May 14, 2008

SickKids researchers provide new information to improve treatment of complications of pneumonia in children

Toronto – Drs. Eyal Cohen, Michael Weinstein of the Department of Paediatrics and the Paediatric Outcomes Research Team at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and Dr. David N. Fisman a scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program at SickKids Research Institute published this month in the prestigious journal Pediatrics , a compelling analysis of the various treatment strategies for paediatric empyema, a complication of pneumonia where pus is collected in the airways. This condition is increasing in incidence throughout the developed world.

While many of the strategies used by paediatric healthcare providers work as treatment options, there are various considerations that must be made when choosing a strategy, such as the level of invasiveness and the overall long term benefits for the patient. Length of hospital stay and cost are also important factors.

The researchers conducted a comprehensive study to compare five commonly employed treatment methods and their overall effectiveness: nonoperative; chest tube insertion; repeated thoracentesis (a procedure in which a needle is inserted into the thorax to remove air or fluid); chest tube insertion with instillation of fibrinolytics (drugs used to dissolve blood clots or pus); and video-assisted thorascopic surgery. The study model was used to project overall costs, survival in life-years, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for these five competing strategies.

The group analyzed data from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and found that overall, the chest tube insertion with instillation of fibrinolytics was the least expensive therapy while also providing equivalent or better health benefit to patients. This therapy can avoid the necessity of more invasive and costly surgical approaches to treating complicated pneumonia in children.

For more information, please contact:

Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue
Suite 1742, Public Affairs, First floor Atrium
Toronto, ON
M5G 1X8
Phone: 416-813-5058
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