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Rev Mal Respir. 2012 Mar;29(3):419-25. doi: 10.1016/j.rmr.2011.09.046. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

[The yellow nail syndrome: a series of five cases].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de pneumologie, université de Rennes 1, hôpital Pontchaillou, 2, rue Henri-Le-Guilloux, 35033 Rennes cedex 9, France.



The yellow nail syndrome is a rare disorder described for the first time in 1964. The pathophysiology remains unclear. Its definition is based on a clinical triad of yellow nails, lymphoedema and chronic respiratory disorders including pleural effusions and bronchiectasis.


We describe a retrospective series of five patients diagnosed with the yellow nail syndrome. All the patients were male, aged from 52 to 71 years (median=56). Three patients were diagnosed with the classic triad, whereas the other two had only yellow nails and bronchiectasis. Yellow nails and chronic sinusitis were present in all five patients. We also report atypical manifestations such as a transudative pleural effusion and facial oedema. The yellow nail syndrome was associated with cancer in two cases.


More common alternative diagnoses must be excluded. The association with cancer should be explored. The treatment is only symptomatic.

Copyright © 2012 SPLF. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

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