Chylothorax after Repair of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia in a Neonate: Usefulness of Conservative Management

Okada, Tadao; Honda, Shohei; Miyagi, Hisayuki; Minato, Masashi; Taketomi, Akinobu
February 2012
Surgical Science;Feb2012, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p93
Academic Journal
Aim: Chylothorax is a recognized complication after surgery for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) in a neonate. Management strategies for chylothorax include cessation of enteral feedings, repeated aspiration, chest drainage, and total parenteral nutrition. It is important to determine which is the better plan for treatment of chylothorax after repair of CDH. The authors report successful management by use of the MCT diet for a neonate with chylothorax after repair of CDH. Case: A male infant weighing 3.0 kg was delivered by cesarean section at 38 weeks of gestation and intubated immediately after birth. Prenatal ultrasonography had disclosed left-sided posterolateral diaphragmatic hernia. After stabilization, surgery was performed via a left-sided transverse supra-abdominal incision. The unfixed colon, small bowel, stomach, and spleen were reduced from the chest with little difficulty. A hernia sac was not present and the left-sided posterolateral diaphragm showed a defect 3.5 cm x 2.0 cm in width. The child was fed via a nasogastric tube starting on postoperative day 4 and dyspnea disappeared. Plain chest X-ray on postoperative day 7 showed left pleural radioopacity. A specimen of the chest drainage examined on postoperative day 10 was typical of lymph, with a triglyceride level of 328 mg/dl. The chest drainage was dark yellowish, and a medium-chain triglyceride formula was used until postoperative day 30, by which time the effusion has disappeared. Discussion: Chylothorax after repair of CDH may be a transient disorder that will resolve after a period of diminished flow through the thoracic lymphatics.


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