Propranolol for the treatment of lymphatic malformations in a neonate – a case report and review of literature

Caren J. Liviskie, Colleen C. Brennan, Christopher C. McPherson, Zachary A. Vesoulis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Lymphatic malformations in neonates often manifest as a chylothorax, and although rare, morbidity and mortality can be significant. First-line treatment with medium-chain triglyceride–enriched formulas, or enteric rest with total parenteral nutrition, are not always successful. We describe the case of a premature neonate with trisomy 21 who presented with bilateral pleural effusions and a pericardial effusion that worsened with the initiation of enteral nutrition. Clinical improvement was not seen until the initiation of treatment with oral propranolol at a maximum dosage of 0.5 mg/kg/day divided every 8 hours with extubation 8 days after propranolol initiation. Two case reports have described the use of propranolol in similar patients receiving 2 mg/kg/day; however, our experience is the first to report treatment success at a much lower dose. A review of the literature for alternative medication treatments uncovered numerous case reports and series documenting variable results with incongruent definitions of treatment success in a diverse patient population. The rarity of this disease state makes accrual of patients difficult and more robust treatment data unlikely. Therefore, selection of the optimal adjunctive treatment must be based on individual patient and disease state characteristics as well as safety and efficacy profile of the medication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Chylothorax
  • Chylous effusion
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Newborn
  • Propranolol


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