Management of spontaneous congenital chylothorax: oral medium-chain triglycerides versus total parenteral nutrition

Am J Perinatol. 1999;16(8):415-20. doi: 10.1055/s-1999-6816.


The aim of this article is to compare total parenteral nutrition (TPN) with oral medium-chain triglycerides-diets (MCT) in the management of spontaneous congenital chylothorax. We analyzed retrospectively the charts of 6 patients seen in our tertiary care center and of 11 comparable patients from the literature. All neonates were symptomatic at birth; 15 had bilateral chylothorax. In the neonates who received mainly TPN (n = 9), the chylothorax resolved significantly (p < 0.05) earlier (mean 10 days, SE 1) than in the others, who received mainly MCT (n = 8) (mean 23 days, SE 4). The mean chyle loss was not significantly different between the 2 groups. Our results suggest that TPN is more effective than oral MCT in the treatment of spontaneous congenital chylothorax. These results support the data of Peitersen et al, who reported that most of the positive results with MCT were achieved in postoperative chylothorax of the newborn.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Chylothorax / congenital*
  • Chylothorax / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage*
  • Triglycerides / chemistry


  • Triglycerides