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Mayo Clin Proc. 1980 Nov;55(11):700-4.

The lipoprotein profile of chylous and nonchylous pleural effusions.


The lipoprotein electrophoregrams and the cholesterol and triglyceride levels of the pleural fluid were evaluated for patients with chylous pleural effusions, as defined by the presence of a distinctive band of chylomicrons on the lipoprotein electrophoregram, and in patients with nonchylous effusions of various causes. One hundred forty-one patients were studied during a 3-year period. The chylous effusions had strikingly higher triglyceride levels (median 249, range 49 to 2,270 mg/dl) than the nonchylous group (median 33, range 13 to 107 mg/dl); there were no significant differences in cholesterol or protein between the two groups. The gross description of the fluid was a poor indicator of its origin, being described as consistent with chyle in less than 50% of cases of chylous effusions. The triglyceride values distinguished chylous effusion from nonchylous effusion; values greater than 110 mg/dl are highly suggestive of a chylous effusion. Equivocal cases--triglyceride values between 50 and 110 mg/dl--required lipoprotein analysis. Pleural effusions of undetermined cause, regardless of gross appearance of the fluid, require that a screening triglyceride value be obtained to rule out a chylous effusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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