Chylothorax: a rare complication of tube thoracostomy.
- Author(s): Limsukon, Atikun
- Yick, Dennis
- Kamangar, Nader
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2007.12.023
BACKGROUND: Chylothorax resulting from chest tube injury to the thoracic duct is very rare and underreported. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this case report is to exemplify this rare but potentially significant complication of chest tube thoracostomy. CASE REPORT: An 86-year-old woman presented with sepsis and a massive right pleural effusion; she developed a chylous effusion with the pleural fluid triglyceride level of 158 mg/dL 2 days after a traumatic chest tube insertion. All investigations excluded common causes of non-traumatic chylothorax. The chylothorax improved after fasting and implementation of a medium-chain triglyceride diet. CONCLUSION: The optimal depth of insertion of the chest tube typically ranges from 5 to 15 cm, ensuring all sideports are within the chest and the proximal port is at least 2 cm beyond the rib margin. Traumatic chylothorax secondary to chest tube insertion should be included in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with chylothorax after a thoracostomy tube.