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Mitchell K, Weiner A, Ramsay P, Sahni M. Use of Propranolol in the Treatment of Chylous Effusions in Infants. Pediatrics. 2021 Jun 29:e2020049699.

Chylothorax and chyloperitoneum are rare in infants and challenging to definitively diagnose by using current criteria extrapolated from the adult population. They can be of primary or secondary etiologies, including congenital lymphatic malformations and postoperatively, after cardiothoracic or abdominal surgery. Current first-line management consists of bowel rest, parenteral nutrition, and a modified diet of medium-chain triglycerides but can often take weeks to be effective. Off-label use of octreotide has been reported in numerous case studies for the management of chylous effusions. However, there are no definitive neonatal data available regarding dosing, safety, and efficacy; moreover, octreotide has a side effect profile that been linked to serious morbidities, such as pulmonary hypertension and necrotizing enterocolitis. Propranolol, commonly used for the treatment of infantile hemangiomas, is currently gaining interest as a novel therapy for chylous effusions. In this case series review, we describe the use of propranolol in 4 infants with presumed chylous effusions: 1 with congenital pleural effusions and 3 infants who developed postoperative chylothorax and/or chylous ascites. Clinical improvement was noted within a few days of initiating oral propranolol, and the maximum dose used in our cases was 6 mg/kg per day. In previous case reports, researchers describe the use of oral propranolol in infants with chylous effusions, with the dose used ranging from 0.5 to 4 mg/kg per day. However, this is the first case series in which researchers report its use exclusively in infants with chylothorax and chyloperitoneum. Although further research is needed to establish safety and efficacy, our experiences suggest that propranolol could be an acceptable treatment option for chylous effusions in infants.

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