Nutritional management in chyle leaks and chylous effusions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Chyle leaks occur when there is interruption to the lymphatic ducts that transport chyle around the body. The loss of this protein-rich, calorie-rich fluid can cause serious complications including dehydration, malnutrition and immunosuppression. Treatment of chyle leaks depends on the underlying cause, which may be surgical, secondary to malignant invasion or the result of a medical condition. Nutritional support is vital and leads to spontaneous leak closure in many cases. Nutritional management options include total bowel rest with parenteral nutrition, enteral feeding with specialized formula, or oral diet with supplementation. At present there is no consensus regarding which approach is superior. In reality, most patients with chyle leaks are managed with a combination or oral and enteral feeding, but further work is needed to clarify the optimum management strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S6-8
JournalBritish Journal of Community Nursing
VolumeSuppl Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Chyle
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Humans
  • Parenteral Nutrition

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