Within the year an excellent article on traumatic chylothorax appeared in this journal.1 A cure was effected by the intravenous administration of the aspirated chyle. In contradistinction the present paper reports a case of postoperative chylothorax in which sudden death followed such intravenous administration of chyle. Our article further stresses: (1) the rarity of such a lesion; (2) the dangers of inadvertent section of the duct during sympathectomy operations for hypertension; (3) the precautions to be taken following such a mishap, and (4) the possible cause of such sudden death.
This is the first case to be reported of inadvertent sectioning of the thoracic duct during the course of a sympathectomy operation. It is the second case to be reported of such sectioning during the course of any operation. Indeed, chylothorax from any trauma is a rare condition. Shackelford and Fisher2 collected 43 authentic cases. Nowak and
WHITCOMB BB, SCOVILLE WB. POSTOPERATIVE CHYLOTHORAX: SUDDEN DEATH FOLLOWING THE INFUSION OF ASPIRATED CHYLE. Arch Surg. 1942;45(5):747–753. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1942.01220050058004
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