OBJECTIVES: This study was conducted to investigate the risk factors for pulmonary abscess-related empyema by investigating the clinical characteristics and chest computed tomography imaging features of patients with pulmonary abscesses. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the chest computed tomography findings and clinical features of 101 cases of pulmonary abscess, including 25 cases with empyema (the experimental group) and 76 cases with no empyema (the control group). The potential risk factors for pulmonary abscess-related empyema were compared between the groups by using univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: The incidence of pulmonary abscess-related empyema was 24.8% (25/101). Univariate analysis showed that male gender, diabetes, pleuritic symptoms, white blood cells >10×109/L, albumin level <25 g/L, and positive sputum cultures were potential clinical-related risk factors and that an abscess >5 cm in diameter and transpulmonary fissure abscesses were potential computed tomography imaging-related risk factors for pulmonary abscess-related empyema. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that transpulmonary fissure abscesses (odds ratio=9.102, p=0.003), diabetes (odds ratio=9.066, p=0.003), an abscess >5 cm in diameter (odds ratio=8.998, p=0.002), and pleuritic symptoms (odds ratio=5.395, p=0.015) were independent risk factors for pulmonary abscess-related empyema. CONCLUSIONS: Transpulmonary fissure abscesses, diabetes, giant pulmonary abscesses, and pleuritic symptoms increased the risk of empyema among patients with pulmonary abscesses.