Author(s): Stringel G, Teixeira JA
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: When nonoperative treatment of chylothorax fails, thoracic duct ligation is usually performed through a thoracotomy. We describe two cases of persistent chylothorax, in a child and an adult, successfully treated with thoracoscopic ligation of the thoracic duct. METHODS: A 4-year-old girl developed a right chylothorax following a Fontan procedure. Aggressive nonoperative management failed to eliminate the persistent chyle loss. A 72-year-old insulin-dependent diabetic man was involved in a motor vehicle accident, in which he sustained multiple fractured ribs, a right hemopneumothorax, a right femoral shaft fracture, and a T-11 thoracic vertebral fracture. Subsequently, he developed a right chylothorax, which did not respond to nonoperative management. Both patients were successfully treated with thoracoscopic ligation of the thoracic duct. RESULTS: The child had significant decrease of chyle drainage following surgery. Increased drainage that appeared after the introduction of full feedings five days postoperatively was controlled with the somatostatin analog octreotide. The chest tube was removed two weeks after surgery. After two years' follow-up, she has had no recurrence of chylothorax. The adult had no chyle drainage following surgery. He was maintained on a medium-chain triglyceride diet postoperatively for two weeks. The chest tube was removed four days after surgery. After six months' follow-up, he has had no recurrence of chylothorax. CONCLUSIONS: Thoracoscopic ligation of the thoracic duct provides a safe and effective treatment of chylothorax and may avoid thoracotomy and its associated morbidity.
This article was published in JSLS
and referenced in Journal of Trauma & Treatment