Congenital chylothorax with hydrops: postnatal care and outcome following antenatal diagnosis

Acta Paediatr. 1995 Jul;84(7):749-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1995.tb13749.x.


We consecutively managed 25 cases of fetal chylothorax with hydrops (pleuroamniotic shunting in 20/25 cases). Three of the 16 liveborn infants died before day 5 from malformations (n = 1) or complications of antenatal origin (n = 2). Eleven of the 13 survivors were treated in our unit. Four infants whose chylothorax had resolved before birth following antenatal shunting were delivered at term, and had no respiratory disease. Seven infants, whose chylothorax persisted, were delivered prematurely and required intensive respiratory care (with mechanical ventilation for a median duration of 34 days). The 11 infants were maintained on total parenteral nutrition for a median duration of 31 days. They were discharged home after complete clinical recovery at a median age of 64 days. Antenatal pleuroamniotic shunting may improve the prognosis of congenital chylothorax with hydrops. Chylothorax persisting at birth resolves progressively with medical management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Chylothorax / congenital*
  • Chylothorax / diagnosis
  • Chylothorax / therapy
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hydrops Fetalis / complications*
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases
  • Male
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Punctures