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Late-onset chylothorax after blunt chest trauma at an interval of 20 years: report of a case.

We herein report an extremely rare case of a patient chylothorax at an interval of 20 years after thoracic vertebrae fractures, who underwent a successful thoracoscopic thoracic duct ligation and pleurodesis. A 51-year-old man was referred to our hospital with shortness of breath on effort about 1 month after participating in archery. Twenty years previously, he was involved in a traffic accident. At that time, the patient sustained trauma to the spine and suffered a spinal injury, thus resulting in paralysis in the lower part of his body. A chest roentgenogram and computed tomogram revealed a large amount of bilateral pleural effusion. After thoracentesis was performed, a diagnosis of chylothorax was made and the patient was hospitalized. Conservative management by a low-fat diet proved to be unsuccessful. The patient did not request pleurodesis, because pleural adhesions might impair pulmonary function. As a result, we decided to perform surgery. On the right side, we performed video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery by clipping the thoracic duct and applying an absorbable sealing material. Thereafter, pleurodesis was performed and OK-432 was instilled. Thereafter, the pleural fluid flow was almost completely stopped. On the left side, pleurodesis was effective. The patient has since remained symptom free and has been followed up on an outpatient basis for 9 months after the 100th postoperative day. We assumed that the chylothorax in this case was related to the earlier traffic accident.

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