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Spontaneous Bacterial Empyema (SBEM) is distinguished as a primary infection of pre-existing hepatic hydrothorax in the absence of cardiopulmonary or pleural disease. It is an under-recognized complication of cirrhosis and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis requires chest imaging to rule out underlying pneumonia as an etiology; a diagnostic thoracentesis is crucial to make the diagnosis and should be obtained in any patient with pleural effusion and evidence of infection. Expeditious administration of antibiotics is essential to ameliorate the outcome. We present an interesting case of spontaneous bacterial empyema in a cirrhotic patient with hepatic hydrothorax.


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