Author | Mukesh Jain, MD

Articles

Chylothorax: A review of current management strategies

July 29, 2008

ABSTRACT: The most common causes of chylothorax are neoplasm-particularly lymphoma-and trauma. The usual presentingsymptom is dyspnea resulting from the accumulationof pleural fluid. The diagnosis of chylothorax is established bymeasuring triglyceride levels in the pleural fluid; a triglyceridelevel of greater than 110 mg/dL supports the diagnosis. The initialapproach to management involves chest tube drainage ofthe pleural space. The administration of medium-chain triglyceridesas a source of fat is often useful. If drainage remains unchanged,parenteral alimentation should be started. Surgicalintervention is indicated if conservative management is notsuccessful or if nutritional deterioration is imminent. If chylothoraxpersists after ligation of the thoracic duct, options mayinclude percutaneous embolization, pleuroperitoneal shunt,and pleurodesis. (J Respir Dis. 2008;29(8):325-333)