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FMA 61403
Anatomical terminology

Chyle (/kl/; from the Greek word χυλός chylos, "juice"[1]) is a milky bodily fluid consisting of lymph and emulsified fats, or free fatty acids (FFAs). It is formed in the small intestine during digestion of fatty foods, and taken up by lymph vessels specifically known as lacteals. The relative low pressure of the lacteals allows large fatty acid molecules to diffuse into them, whereas the higher pressure in veins allows only smaller products of digestion, like amino acids and sugars, to diffuse into the blood directly.[2][3]


A chyle fistula is a leakage of lymphatic fluid from the lymphatic vessels, typically accumulating in the thoracic or abdominal cavities,[4] possibly leading to a chylothorax or chylous ascites, respectively.

Treatment of a chyle fistula relies on ligation of the duct. This is because direct repair is impractical owing to the extreme friability of the thoracic duct.

An alternative treatment is the subcutaneous use of the drug octreotide (a synthetic analogue of somatostatin). This can lead to complete resolution of production of chyle, and avoids the need for surgery.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mosby’s Medical, Nursing and Allied Health Dictionary, Fourth Edition, Mosby-Year Book Inc., 1994, p. 335
  2. ^ Magendie, Par F. Elementary Treatise on Human Physiology originally published in French 1838, translated into English and published 1855 by Harper Brothers, New York
  3. ^ Lipid Transport and Digestion
  4. ^ Tessier, Deron J , MD, Chyle fistula eMedicine; Jan 10, 2008; accessed Feb 2008
  5. ^ Mincher, L; Evans, J; Jenner, MW; Varney, VA (2005). "The successful treatment of chylous effusions in malignant disease with octreotide". Clinical oncology (Royal College of Radiologists (Great Britain)) 17 (2): 118–21. PMID 15830574. 

External links[edit]