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Chest. 1985 Sep;88(3):426-8.

Chyliform (cholesterol) pleural effusion.


Chyliform pleural effusions are a little known occurrence only sparingly reported in the literature. At the lung department in Uppsala, Sweden, 11 cases have been seen the last few years. Typically, the exudate develops in a long-standing pleural thickening resulting from therapeutic pneumothorax many years earlier. The exudate contains a high level of cholesterol, probably breakdown products from blood cells. It is usually sterile, and only very rarely can one find tubercle bacilli growing from it. There is a tendency toward recurrence. If the patient benefits clinically from aspiration of the fluid, decortication is indicated.

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