Abdominal lymphatic drainage after thoracic duct ligation and cisterna chyli ablation in clinically normal cats

Vanna M Dickerson, Janet A Grimes, Scott A Secrest, Mandy L Wallace, Chad W Schmiedt
American Journal of Veterinary Research 2019, 80 (9): 885-890

OBJECTIVE: To characterize abdominal lymphatic drainage in cats after thoracic duct ligation (TDL) and cisterna chyli ablation (CCA).

ANIMALS: 7 purpose-bred research cats.

PROCEDURES: Baseline CT lymphangiography was performed. A popliteal lymph node was injected with iohexol, and images were acquired at 5-minute intervals for 15 minutes. Cats underwent TDL and CCA; methylene blue was used to aid in identifying lymphatic vessels. The CT lymphangiography was repeated immediately after and 30 days after surgery. All cats were euthanized and necropsied.

RESULTS: Results of baseline CT lymphangiography were unremarkable for all 7 cats. Only 5 cats completed the study. Leakage of contrast medium at the level of the cisterna chyli was seen on CT lymphangiography images obtained from all cats immediately after surgery. Evaluation of 30-day postoperative CT lymphangiography images revealed small branches entering the caudal vena cava in 2 cats, leakage of contrast medium into the caudal vena cava with no visible branches in 1 cat, and no contrast medium in the caudal vena cava in 2 cats. Contrast medium did not flow beyond the level of the cisterna chyli in any cat. Gross examination during necropsy revealed that all cats had small lymphatic vessels that appeared to connect to local vasculature identified in the region of the cisterna chyli.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Abdominal lymphaticovenous anastomoses formed after TDL and CCA in cats. This would support use of these procedures for treatment of cats with idiopathic chylothorax, although additional studies with clinically affected cats are warranted.

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