[Diagnosis, management and treatment of chylothorax]

Rev Med Suisse. 2016 Feb 3;12(504):245-9.
[Article in French]


Chylothorax is characterized by a milky pleural effusion that results from the injury to the thoracic duct, causing leakage of chyle into the pleural space. Its diagnosis relies primarily, on the determination of triglycerides and/or the identification of chylomicrons in the pleural fluid. The most common causes are traumatic, mainly after surgery. Among non-traumatic causes, tumors are the most frequent (like lymphomas). Conservative treatment is based on pleural drainage with a low fat diet and appropriate etiological approach. In case of failure, occlusion of the thoracic lymph duct should be considered, either by a surgical approach or interventional radiology.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Chyle / metabolism*
  • Chylothorax / diagnosis
  • Chylothorax / physiopathology
  • Chylothorax / therapy*
  • Drainage / methods
  • Humans
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnosis
  • Pleural Effusion / physiopathology
  • Pleural Effusion / therapy*
  • Thoracic Duct / injuries