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Ann Pharmacother. 2003 May;37(5):679-82.

Octreotide as a therapeutic option for management of chylothorax.

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Department of Pharmacy Services, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



To report a case of post-cardiac surgery-induced chylothorax treated with octreotide and review the literature on octreotide efficacy.


A 5-month-old boy with Down syndrome was admitted for atrioventricular canal repair. On admission, he was taking captopril and furosemide. On postoperative day 4, he exhibited signs of chest wheezing and crackles, but was without cough or fever. Chest X-ray revealed a moderate right-sided pleural effusion. Accordingly, a pleural catheter was inserted and drained an average of 7.14 mL/h of chylous fluid that day. Laboratory analysis of the pleural fluid revealed a triglyceride level of 89 mg/dL, without bacterial growth. Based on those findings, the diagnosis was chylothorax. Because of the continuous extensive tube drainage, octreotide 3.5 micro g/kg/h was begun. The average daily chyle drainage was reduced from 7.14 one day before octreotide initiation to 0.83 mL/h on day 4 of octreotide therapy. After 4 days of therapy (postoperative day 8), octreotide was discontinued because of the satisfactory response and the pleural catheter was removed.


In our case and the other few cases reported, octreotide showed acceptable efficacy in the management of chylothorax. The mechanism by which octreotide decreases chyle production includes reducing the intestinal absorption of fats, mainly triglycerides, and increasing fecal fat excretion.


Octreotide may have reduced chyle production in our patient. Further reports and studies assessing octreotide efficacy in the management of chylothorax are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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