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Pleural lymphocyte-rich transudates in cats

Probo, Monica, Valenti, Valentina, Venco, Luigi, Paltrinieri, Saverio, Lavergne, Emme, Trumel, Catherine, Bertazzolo, Walter
carcinoma, cat diseases, cats, chylomicrons, databases, echocardiography, heart diseases, image analysis, lymphocytes, lymphoma, thymoma
Non-chylous lymphorrhagic pleural effusions are transudative effusions with a predominance of lymphocytes; however, they do not contain chylomicrons and therefore do not have the classical milky aspect of true chylous effusion. This type of effusion has been anecdotally associated with cardiac diseases in cats, but studies are lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between this type of effusion and the primary disease. In this study, feline non-chylous lymphorrhagic pleural effusions were retrospectively selected from the database of the authors’ institutions over a 3 year period. All cases underwent thoracic imaging, including echocardiography. Effusions classified as transudates with a predominance of lymphocytes on cytology were included. Thirty-three cases fulfilled the inclusion criteria: 23 (69.7%) had a concurrent cardiac disease, eight (24.2%) cases were associated with the presence of a mediastinal lymphoma or carcinoma or a thoracic mass, one case (3.0%) was a thymoma and one case (3.0%) was a sequela of a pyothorax. Since a clear lymphatic origin of the fluid could not be demonstrated, lymphocyte-rich transudate might be considered a better designation for these kinds of effusions rather than non-chylous lymphorrhagic effusions. Although the number of cases in this preliminary study is low, the presence of a pleural lymphocyte-rich transudate in a cat should prompt the search for cardiac disease or intrathoracic neoplasia.