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Tension Chylothorax Complicating Acute Malignant Airway Obstruction

Piastra, Marco MD*; Pietrini, Domenico MD*; Ruggiero, Antonio MD; Rizzo, Daniela MD; Marzano, Laura MD*; Attinà, Giorgio MD; De Luca, Daniele MD*; De Rosa, Gabriella MD; Conti, Giorgio MD*

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318216b2f8
Illustrative Cases

Acute upper airway obstruction represents one of the most challenging emergencies in pediatric practice. In particular, a tension chylothorax complicating a malignant airway obstruction is a rare and life-threatening complication. We report a rapidly progressing tension chylothorax associated with a cervical mass in a 10-month-old male infant. To our knowledge, the extension of a cervical mass to the supraclavear region resulting in a compressive chylothorax represents an exceptional event in pediatrics. Early recognition and prompt treatment resulted to be essential to relieve the compression and to avoid end-stage hemodynamic and respiratory function derangement.

From the *Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, †Paediatric Oncology/Haematology, and ‡Paediatric Cardiology, Department of Paediatrics, Catholic University Medical School, Rome, Italy.

Reprints: Daniela Rizzo, MD, Pediatric Oncology/Haematology, Catholic University "A. Gemelli" Hospital, L.go Gemelli 8, 00168 Rome, Italy (e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.