Yellow nail syndrome--the triad of yellow nails, lymphedema and pleural effusions. A review of the literature and a case report

Acta Med Scand. 1986;219(2):221-7. doi: 10.1111/j.0954-6820.1986.tb03302.x.


The yellow nail syndrome, combination of yellow discoloured nails, lymphedema and pleural effusions, is a rare clinical condition. A review of the literature, including 97 patients, is presented. Most patients developed yellow nail syndrome in early middle age, and the overall male:female ratio was 1.1.6. The etiology of the syndrome is obscure, while the pathogenesis seems to involve impaired lymphatic drainage. A patient, whose recurrent pleural effusions were effectively controlled by chemical pleurodesis, is also presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphedema / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nail Diseases / complications*
  • Pigmentation Disorders / complications*
  • Pleural Effusion / complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Syndrome