A 75-year-old male is a patient in your ICU, day three following an elective oesophagectomy.
Examine the photograph provided.
a) What complication has occurred?
b) What is your management of this complication?
a) Chylothorax secondary to thoracic duct damage.
NB: Both parts needed for whole mark.
b) Conservative management with drainage, octreotide and TPN. Surgical management with pleurodesis or thoracic duct ligation
The picture abode is of a drain with chyle in it, which was not part of the original college paper. Indeed, nobody knows what precisely the college depicted in their version.
I have attempted to provide the candidate with a picture which has in it an unambiguously creamy opaque fluid, sitting in some obvious chest drain tubing.
And yes, chylothorax is a frequent complication of oesophagectomy.
Diagnosis of chylothorax:
Management of chylothorax
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Hashim, Sami A., et al. "Treatment of chyluria and chylothorax with medium-chain triglyceride." New England Journal of Medicine 270.15 (1964): 756-761.