Background Postoperative chylothorax is usually the result of iatrogenic injury to the thoracic duct or surrounding collateral lymphatic ducts during surgery. There are currently no recommendations for the management of refractory cases to optimal medical and surgical interventions.
Purpose To describe a case of refractory chylothorax in which the alpha adrenergic stimulant midodrine was successfully used.
Material and methods Retrospective case report and literature search related to the treatment of refractory chylothorax review. Data source: electronic medical records and PubMed data and Uptodate.
Results A 4-year-old girl (weight 16 kg) underwent extracardiac Fontan surgery, and at the postoperative period presented with high chylous output from chest tubes. In the beginning, conservative treatment based on pleural drainage and dietary measures (enteral/parenteral nutrition poor in fat and with medium chain triglycerides) was performed. On postoperative days 6 and 25, an octreotide infusion (dose range 1 to 12 μg/kg/h) was initiated for 17 and 42 days, respectively, showing reduction in chyle leak but not its resolution. On postoperative day 41, pleurodesis with 320 mg tetracycline (20 mg/kg) was performed and repeated for 2 more days. Later, on postoperative day 69, bilateral pleurodesis with talc was done but was not effective. In view of the lack of effectiveness of the above measures, a literature search was performed and an article that described the successful use of midodrine in an adult refractory case of chylothorax was found. Despite not finding any reference in the paediatric population, due to the state of malnutrition, immunosuppression and coagulopathy of the patient, it was decided to prescribe off-label midodrine at a dose of 1 mg/8 h. Treatment was continued for 16 days and the drained volume was reduced from 20 mL/h to imperceptible. No adverse effects related to treatment with midodrine were observed.
Conclusion Chylothorax is a possible complication after thoracic duct injury during cardiothoracic surgery. Therapeutic strategies should be based on pleural drainage, diet, octreotide and, in persistent cases, pleurodesis. Midodrine may be a therapeutic option when the above measures are not effective.
References and/or Acknowledgements
Liou DZ, et al. Midodrine: a novel therapeutic for refractory chylothorax. Chest 2013;144:1055-7
References and/or AcknowledgementsNo conflict of interest.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.