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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Aug;10(8):699-702.

Octreotide in the treatment of intestinal lymphangiectasia.

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Digestive Diseases Research Centre, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK.


Primary intestinal lymphangiectasia is characterized by dilated small bowel lymphatics and loss of lymph into the bowel lumen resulting in hypoproteinaemia and oedema. Some patients have a more generalized lymphatic abnormality associated with lymphoedema of the limbs and chylous pleural effusions. There is no specific treatment although enteric protein loss may decrease with a low-fat diet. This report describes a patient with severe primary intestinal lymphangiectasia, associated with limb oedema and recurrent pleural effusions, who responded to treatment with octreotide. Before starting octreotide she required weekly intravenous albumin infusions to maintain the serum albumin above 20 g/l. Bilateral pleural effusions repeatedly reaccumulated despite pleurectomy and subsequently tetracycline pleurodesis. Treatment with octreotide, 200 microg twice daily, resulted in a reduction in enteric protein loss from 16 to 4.1% in 5 days (normal less than 1%) and the serum albumin was maintained between 22 and 26 g/l without the need for albumin infusion. Oedema in the arms resolved completely and the pleural effusions did not reaccumulate. The mechanism of action of octreotide in this condition appears to be due to a reduction in gut protein loss and another, as yet unidentified, action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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