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Open Access Case report

Chylous ascites and chylothorax due to constrictive pericarditis in a patient infected with HIV: a case report

Sarawut Summachiwakij1, Wiwun Tungsubutra2*, Pornpan Koomanachai2 and Suchai Charoenratanakul2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 10700, Thailand

2 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 10700, Thailand

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:163  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-163

Published: 27 June 2012



Chylothorax and chylous ascites are uncommon and usually associated with trauma or neoplasms. To the best of our knowledge, constrictive pericarditis leading to chylothorax and chylous ascites in a person infected with HIV has never previously been described.

Case presentation

A 39-year-old Thai man was referred to our institute with progressive dyspnea, edema and abdominal distension. His medical history included HIV infection and pulmonary tuberculosis that was complicated by tuberculous pericarditis and cardiac tamponade. Upon further investigation, we found constrictive pericarditis, chylothorax and chylous ascites. A pericardiectomy was performed which resulted in gradual resolution of the ascites and chylous effusion.


Although constrictive pericarditis is an exceptionally rare cause of chylothorax and chylous ascites, it should nonetheless be considered in the differential diagnosis as a potentially reversible cause.