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Congenital idiopathic chylothorax in neonates: chemical pleurodesis with povidone-iodine (Betadine)


Chylothorax is defined as an accumulation of chyle in the pleural space. This condition usually occurs after an operation, the congenital idiopathic form being rare (1/15<thin>000 births). Recovery is observed within four to six weeks of diagnosis in most cases. Treatment is either conservative or surgical. Four cases are reported of congenital chylothorax (three idiopathic, one accompanied by diffuse lymphangectasia) managed by chemical pleurodesis (intrapleural injection of povidone-iodine). Tolerance was satisfactory: unaltered thyroid function in the three cases explored; one case of transient generalised oedema. Treatment was deemed successful in three of the four cases. One child died from renal failure (unrelated to the chemical pleurodesis). Pleurodesis by povidone-iodine appears to be well tolerated and may represent a good alternative to mechanical abrasion or surgery for congenital idiopathic chylothorax. Its use for refractory chylothorax may also decrease the morbidity related to prolonged hospital stay.

  • chylothorax
  • povidone-iodine
  • pleurodesis
  • chest tubes
  • drainage

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