Chylothorax is defined as the lymphatic fluid accumulation in the pleural space due to the obstruction or injuries in the ductus thoracicus. The incidence of chylothorax due to blunt and penetrating traumas is low at a rate of 0.2-3%. This case presentation intends to evoke chylothorax as a rare cause of pleural effusion due to injuries.
A 27-day-old infant was brought to the emergency department with the complaint of a sudden respiratory distress developing after falling off the couch. The respiratory rate was 62, the pulse rate was 174, and the oxygen saturation rate was 68%. In the physical examination, the respiratory sounds were diminished bilaterally. The patient was intubated. As the saturation levels did not improve after intubation, a needle aspiration was performed bilaterally in the anterior axillary line with a prediagnosis of massive haemothorax. A yellowish fluid was aspirated from the pleural space bilaterally. Chest tubes were inserted bilaterally to treat respiratory distress due to mass effect of chylothorax. Massive chylothorax cases may result in serious complications leading to respiratory distress and cardiac dysfunction. An early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be life-saving in these patients.
Key words: chylothorax, trauma, pleural effusion