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Thoracic Duct Chylous Fistula Following Severe Electric Injury Combined with Sulfuric Acid Burns: A Case Report

Fei Chang, Dasheng Cheng, Mingyuan Qian, Wei Lu, Huatao Li, Hongtai Tang, Zhaofan Xia

(Department of Burns, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China (mainland))

Am J Case Rep 2016; 17:730-733

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.899504

Published: 2016-10-11


BACKGROUND: As patients with thoracic duct injuries often suffer from severe local soft tissue defects, integrated surgical treatment is needed to achieve damage repair and wound closure. However, thoracic duct chylous fistula is rare in burn patients, although it typically involves severe soft tissue damage in the neck or chest.
CASE REPORT: A 32-year-old male patient fell after accidentally contacting an electric current (380 V) and knocked over a barrel of sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid continuously poured onto his left neck and chest, causing combined electrical and sulfuric acid burn injuries to his anterior and posterior torso, and various parts of his limbs (25% of his total body surface area). During treatment, chylous fistula developed in the left clavicular region, which we diagnosed as thoracic duct chylous fistula. We used diet control, intravenous nutritional support, and continuous somatostatin to reduce the chylous fistula output, and hydrophilic silver ion-containing dressings for wound coverage. A boneless muscle flap was used to seal the left clavicular cavity, and, integrated, these led to resolution of the chylous fistula.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with severe electric or chemical burns in the neck or chest may be complicated with thoracic duct injuries. Although conservative treatment can control chylous fistula, wound cavity filling using a muscle flap is an effective approach for wound healing.

Keywords: Burns, Fistula, Thoracic Duct



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