Primary intestinal lymphangiectasia is an uncommon congenital anomaly. It is an intrinsic abnormality of the intestinal lymphatics system. Over the years, various treatment options such as diuretics, albumin transfusions and a medium chain triglycerides (MCT) diet as well as surgical options such as resection of isolated segments and peritoneal-venous shunts have been used. An MCT diet, which is a low fat, high protein diet, is increasingly used in the management of this anomaly.
Aim: The aim was to review the evidence for medium chain triglycerides as a therapeutic option in patients with primary intestinal lymphangiectasia.
Material and methods: A literature search was performed and individual case details were extracted. We found 55 cases, of which 3 were from our own institute. The cases were divided in 2 groups: Group A (n=27) consisted of patients treated with MCT, and Group B (n=28) consisted patients not treated with MCT. Cases were analysed for symptomatic response to MCT as well as mortality.
Results: 17 of 27 cases (63%) treated with MCT had complete resolution of symptoms while only 10 of 28 (35.7%) patients in group B showed complete resolution. Mortality for Group A was 1 out of 27 (3.7%), while mortality in group B was 5 of 28 (17.85%) patients.
Conclusion: We conclude that, although an MCT diet is not completely curative in all cases, it does improve the symptoms of primary intestinal lymphangiectasia and reduces mortality. Hence it is a valid option in the paediatric age group.
Copyright Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart . New York.