Chyloptysis is a rare clinical problem that is associated with conditions affecting lymphatic channels in the thorax. Diagnosis is usually made when the patients present with expectoration of milky-white sputum or of thick tenacious mucus in the shape of smaller bronchi (bronchial cast). Typically the symptoms resolve after coughing up of the bronchial casts. Pleural, mediastinal, pulmonary or lymphatic abnormalities result in chyloptysis. Lymphangiography and detection of lipids (cholesterol or triglycerides) in sputum help to establish the diagnosis. However, lymphangiography may not be positive in all patients. We report 2 patients with chyloptysis and bronchial casts with different etiologies. Abnormal lymphatics were demonstrated in one of our cases, but the second patients lymphangiogram was normal. In this patient we suspect that high venous filling pressures due to congestive heart failure had a causative effect in the setting of compromised lymphatic drainage in the thorax due to a prior history of radiation therapy to the chest for lymphoma.
- Bronchial cast
- Heart failure
- Thoracic duct duplication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine