Chylothorax

C. H. Doerr, D. L. Miller, Jay H Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Chylothorax or chylous pleural effusion occurs when chyle accumulates in the pleural space usually secondary to disruption of thoracic lymphatics. Chyle is a milky, white, opalescent fluid that is formed when long-chain triglycerides in the diet are transformed into chylomicrons and very-low-density lipoproteins, which are then secreted into intestinal lacteals. These lymphatic channels coalesce to form the thoracic duct, which transports chyle and ultimately drains it into the left subclavian vein. Any injury to the duct (or its major tributaries) as it courses through the thoracic cavity can lead to a chylous effusion. Diagnosis depends on direct analysis of the fluid by assaying the triglyceride content and, at times, lipid electrophoretic pattern (chylomicrons). Management depends on the underlying cause and the individual clinical circumstances. Nonoperative options include observation, treatment of the underlying disease, dietary modification employing strict medium-chain triglyceride diet or total parenteral nutrition, therapeutic thoracentesis, tube thoracostomy with chemical pleurodesis, and embolization of the thoracic duct. Surgical management may include pleurectomy, talc poudrage, pleuroperitoneal shunting, and repair or ligation of the thoracic duct via thoracoscopy or thoracotomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-626
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Fingerprint

Chyle
Chylothorax
Thoracic Duct
Chylomicrons
Triglycerides
Thoracostomy
Pleurodesis
Diet
Talc
Thoracic Cavity
Diet Therapy
Subclavian Vein
Thoracoscopy
VLDL Lipoproteins
Total Parenteral Nutrition
Pleural Effusion
Thoracotomy
Ligation
Milk
Thorax

Keywords

  • Chylothorax
  • Chylous effusion
  • Thoracic duct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care

Cite this

Chylothorax. / Doerr, C. H.; Miller, D. L.; Ryu, Jay H.

In: Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol. 22, No. 6, 2001, p. 617-626.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Doerr, C. H. ; Miller, D. L. ; Ryu, Jay H. / Chylothorax. In: Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2001 ; Vol. 22, No. 6. pp. 617-626.
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