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Congenital Chylothorax: A Case Study

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PLEURAL EFFUSIONS OCCUR WHEN a large amount of free fluid accumulates in the pleural space.1 A chylothorax is caused by chyle-containing lymphatic fluid draining into the pleural cavity.2 This is the most common type of pleural effusion observed during the neonatal period and is two times more likely to occur in males than in females. Though uncommon, pleural effusions may cause significant respiratory compromise, and 50 percent of infants with a chylothorax develop symptoms of respiratory distress within 24 hours of birth.3 The following case study summarizes the course of a 33-week-gestation neonate with bilateral congenital pleural effusions (chylothoraces). A review of the etiology, radiographic and laboratory diagnosis, and management of chylothorax follows the case study.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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