Pulmonary abscess undoubtedly occurs much more frequently in children than is commonly supposed, but it is frequently missed because it is difficult to detect it in children and especially in infants. Baron1 in 1908 reported an instance of abscess of the lung complicating otitis media in a child 2 weeks of age. He was able to collect from the literature 7 other cases of pulmonary abscess in infants. In the other 7 cases the diagnosis was not made ante mortem, whereas in his case the diagnosis was made after aspiration of the lung. Lilienthal2 reported a successful operation on a patient three weeks after birth, and Struthers3 reported an instance of pulmonary abscess in a boy aged 24 days.
The most important causes of pulmonary abscess in children are antecedent pulmonary infections and operations, especially tonsillectomies. Authorities disagree as to the incidence of pulmonary abscess following tonsillectomy.