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A Journal on Diseases of the Respiratory System

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Thoracic Endoscopy
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Minerva Pneumologica 1999 March;38(1):27-30

language: English

Recurrent pleural effusions related to yellow nail syndrome

Pallone G., Papale M., Kuleridu A., Mariotta S.


The yellow nail syndrome was first described by Samman and White in 1964. It is rare disorder (about a hundred cases reported), characterized by yellow nails, lymphedema and pleural effusions, of chylous or exudative type, occasionally associated to recurrent sinusitis, bronchitis, bronchiectasis, hoarseness and character inconstancy. Etiology is unknown but lymphography reveals a lymphatic hypoplasia, probably congenital. A case of yellow nail syndrome in a 71 year-old man, caucasian, with a one year history of shortness of breath and mild peripheral lymphedema is reported. At the age of 67 he noticed progressive thickening, yellow discoloration and delayed growth of his nails. Chest X-ray showed bilateral pleural effusions, Pleural fluid analysis did not show any disease. A sensible dilatation of the chylous cistern was detected at lymphography. The patient underwent numerous thoracentesis in both pleural cavities with the instillation of rifamycin SV promoting a successful pleurodesis.

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