Chylothorax as a complication of pulmonary tuberculosis in children

Grobbelaar M. ; Andronikou S. ; Goussard P. ; Theron S. ; Mapukata A. ; George R. (2008)


Chylothorax is a rare clinical entity characterized by a milky white aspirate with increased triglyceride levels. The commonest aetiology is malignancy and trauma. Pulmonary tuberculosis is an extremely rare cause of chylothorax. Two children with chylothorax and pulmonary tuberculosis are described. One child had bilateral and the other unilateral chylous effusions. Extensive mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy was demonstrated. Diseased lymph nodes may infiltrate other intrathoracic structures such as the thoracic duct, and they can also obstruct the cisterna chyli and thoracic duct. A possible explanation for the development of a chylothorax in our patients is obstruction of the thoracic duct by tuberculous lymphadenopathy with subsequent increase in pressure in the surrounding lymphatic system and leaking of chyle into the pleural space. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.

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