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Case report
Management of large congenital chylous ascites in a preterm infant: fetal and neonatal interventions


Congenital chylous ascites is a rare cause of ascites in newborn infants. Its aetiology varies from localised leaky lymphatic duct to genetic syndromes. Most of these cases have transient ascites resolving over time with conservative management but some may progress needing medical as well as surgical treatment. We describe a case of antenatally detected large fetal ascites necessitating abdominal paracentesis and amnioreduction. Marked respiratory distress at birth required urgent abdominal paracentesis to relieve symptoms. The infant initially showed a good response to medium chain triglyceride (MCT) based formula milk feeds. Feeds were discontinued for 3 weeks due to sepsis with ileus. On recovery, recommencement of feeds resulted in reaccumulation of ascites. As the response to MCT-based formula was inadequate, octreotide therapy was initiated. Ascites showed remarkable resolution over the next 2 weeks and was discharged home. Follow-up at 5 years of age revealed normal growth and neurodevelopment.

  • nutrition
  • neonatal intensive care
  • congenital disorders
  • ultrasonography

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