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Rare case of congenital chylothorax and challenges in its management
  1. Philippa Lauren Ball1,
  2. Sarah Nethercott2 and
  3. Kathryn Beardsall3
  1. 1 School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2 Paediatrics Department, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3 Paediatrics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Philippa Lauren Ball, plb28{at}


This case describes the difficulties faced in treating recurrent pleural effusions and diagnosing chylothorax in a preterm neonate. The mother of this case was one of the first neonates to undergo in utero pleural shunting for bilateral pleural effusions 30 years ago. She then presented with an antenatal diagnosis of fetal hydrops at 31+1 weeks gestation in her own pregnancy and her baby was delivered 3 days later due to concerns about fetal distress. The baby was clinically unstable with recurrent bilateral effusions which were extensively investigated and shown to be the result of congenital chylothorax of possible genetic origin. This case demonstrates the challenges of managing chylothorax in the newborn.

  • paediatrics (drugs and medicines)
  • neonatal intensive care
  • congenital disorders
  • neonatal health
  • respiratory medicine
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

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