Current Thoracic Surgery 2017 , Vol 2 , Issue 2
A rare post-operative thoracic surgery complication: chylothorax
Tevfik İlker Akçam1,Önder Kavurmacı1,Ahmet Kayahan Tekneci1,Ayşe Gül Ergönül1,Kutsal Turhan1,Alpaslan Çakan1,Ufuk Çağırıcı1
1Department of Thoracic Surgery, School of Medicine, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey DOI : 10.26663/cts.2017.0013 Background: Chylothorax is defined as the accumulation of chyle in the pleural space. In this report, we discuss the demographic features of patients with post-operative chylothorax, and the treatment approaches used to emphasize the importance of this complication for thoracic surgery.

Materials and Methods: Medical records of 13 patients operated between January 2001 and July 2017, and who were diagnosed with chylothorax in the post-operative period, were retrospectively evaluated. Patients" demographic features, type of surgeries, results of histopathological examination, day of chylothorax diagnosis, and treatment results were recorded.

Results: Eight male patients (61.5%) and 5 female patients (38.5%) were included in the study. Chylothorax developed after lobectomy in 9 patients (62.23%), total pleurectomy in 2 patients (15.38%), bilobectomy in 1 patient (7.69%), and pneumonectomy in 1 patient (7.69%). Oral nutrition was discontinued immediately after chylothorax diagnosis, and patients were followed-up with parenteral nutrition. A conservative approach was used in 11 patients (84.61%). Two patients (15.39%) did not respond to medical treatment, and underwent surgery. All patients were successfully treated chylothorax.

Conclusions: Chylothorax is a rare but serious post-operative complication after thoracic surgeries. While appropriate conservative treatment leads to recovery in majority of the cases, surgery remains an important option for patients with prolonged drainage and persistent disease. Keywords : Chylothorax, thoracic surgery, complication