South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
BENEDIX, Frank et al. Successful conservative treatment of chylothorax following oesophagectomy - a clinical algorithm. S. Afr. j. surg. [online]. 2010, vol.48, n.3, pp.86-88. ISSN 2078-5151.
OBJECTIVES: 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. DESIGN: During a 2-year period, 3 patients developed chylothorax after oesophagectomy. This was treated conservatively, following our departmental protocol. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSION: We recommend conservative measures as the first-line treatment for postoperative chylothorax.