A case of chylothorax in a patient with sarcoidosis: a rare and potentially fatal complication

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Bhattarai, Bikash ; Schmidt, Frances ; Devkota, Ashok ; Policard, Geraldine ; Manhas, Saveena ; Oke, Vikram ; Agu, Chidozie Charles ; Basunia, Md Rawshan ; Enriquez, Danilo ; Quist, Joseph ; Kharel, Prakash (2015)
  • Publisher: Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives
  • Journal: Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives, volume 5, issue 4 (eissn: 2000-9666)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4558282, doi: 10.3402/jchimp.v%v.28300, doi: 10.3402/jchimp.v5.28300
  • Subject: Lymphoscintigraphy | chyothorax/sarcoidosis; Lymphoscintigraphy; Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; Octreotide | chyothorax/sarcoidosis | Case Report | Pulmonary Medicine | Octreotide | Lymphangioleiomyomatosis

Obstruction of the thoracic duct may lead to accumulation of a lymphatic fluid rich in triglycerides named chyle. When chyle accumulates in the pleural cavity, it becomes a chylothorax. Malignancy, particularly lymphoma, is the most common cause of chylothorax; however, any pathology leading to obstruction or destruction of the thoracic duct can lead to a chylothorax. This particular case investigates an incidence of chylothorax in sarcoidosis. A 54-year-old African American woman with a medical history of sarcoidosis, congestive heart failure, and smoking presented to the emergency department with complaints of bilateral foot swelling and exertional shortness of breath 3 days in duration. Physical examination was positive for bilateral crepitations with decreased air entry, abdominal ascites, and bilateral 2+ pitting edema. Both chest X-ray and chest CT were positive for stable bilateral pleural effusions (when compared to imaging done 3 years previously), and thoracocentesis and paracentesis were positive for chylous fluid accumulation. Chylothorax was diagnosed, and based on the previous medical history, the lymphadenopathy of sarcoidosis was determined to cause the occlusion of the thoracic duct. Lymphoscintigraphy and surgical intervention were advised; however, the family decided on conservative management and the patient expired intubated in the ICU. Chylothorax is a rare manifestation of sarcoidosis and high index of suspicion should be there to diagnose this, as there is high morbidity and mortality associated with it.Keywords: chyothorax/sarcoidosis; Lymphoscintigraphy; Lymphangioleiomyomatosis; Octreotide(Published: 1 September 2015)Citation: Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives 2015, 5: 28300 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/jchimp.v5.28300
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