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CASE REPORT  NON-COVID-19 SECTION Open accessopen access

Italian Journal of Emergency Medicine 2021 August;10(2):112-5

DOI: 10.23736/S2532-1285.21.00069-0

Copyright © 2021 THE AUTHORS

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

language: English

Pleural effusion associated with superior vena cava syndrome: a rare cause of transudative chylothorax

Tommaso VALOBRA 1 , Annalisa RIGAMONTI 1, Giacomo MOSCA 2

1 Emergency Medicine Graduate School, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; 2 San Gerardo Monza Hospital, Monza, Monza-Brianza, Italy



Superior vena cava syndrome interrupts normal venous return of blood from the head, upper extremities and thorax. It may result from primary intrathoracic or metastatic malignancies. Approximately two thirds of the patients who have metastatic malignancies have breast cancer. In our case, a 64-year-old woman with history of breast cancer developed dyspnea and pleural effusion. Thoracentesis yielded a diagnosis of chylothorax and a computer tomography suggested a malignant extrinsic compression of the superior vena cava (SVC). This was successfully treated with angioplasty and stenting of the SVC. Chylothorax is an uncommon etiology for transudative pleural effusion, and it must be considered in the setting of central venous instrumentation or obstruction. Management for SVC syndrome associated with malignant condition involves both treatment of the cancer and relief of the obstructive symptoms.


KEY WORDS: Superior vena cava syndrome; Pleural effusion; Chylothorax

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