The treatment of complex parapneumonic effusions in children remains controversial, with some advocating less invasive, strictly medical management and others supporting a more aggressive approach of thoracotomy with or without decortication. Recent advances, including video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy, offer new options for effective treatment. We report the first case of successful resolution of a complex parapneumonic effusion in a 16-month-old girl with the use of tissue plasminogen activator (alteplase), infused via a catheter in the pleural space.

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