n South African Journal of Surgery - Successful conservative treatment of chylothorax following oesophagectomy - a clinical algorithm : general surgery




Chylothorax is an infrequent but serious complication after thoracic surgery. Optimal management is still controversial. Surgical re-interventions are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.

During a 2-year period, 3 patients developed chylothorax after oesophagectomy. This was treated conservatively, following our departmental protocol.
Conservative management (total parenteral nutrition, bowel rest, pleural drainage and octreotide, followed by a low-fat diet) was successful in all 3 cases within a reasonable period of time (14 - 18 days).
We recommend conservative measures as the first-line treatment for postoperative chylothorax.


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