Intestinal lymphangiectasia

Intestinal lymphangiectasia is a condition characterised by dilated intestinal lacteals causing loss of lymph into the lumen of the small intestine. This can result in hypoproteinemia, hypogammaglobulinemia, hypoalbuminemia and reduced number of circulating lymphocytes or lymphopaenia. 

It may present in either children or adults.

The condition may be localised of diffuse. It can occur from a number aetiologies which include. 

The definitive diagnosis is made by endoscopic evaluation and biopsy of duodenum and/or jejunum or alternatively from surgically resected small intestine.

  • faecal alpha-1-antitrypsin is often raised.

Non specific and may show bowel wall thickening to varying degrees.

  • malignant transformation into lymphoma: may occur in around 5% of cases 1.

Treatment has usually comprised of a low fat diet along with a medium-chain triglyceride oral supplements.

It was first described by TA Waldmann in 1961 1.

As a broad differential of bowel thickening consider forms of enteritis

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Article information

rID: 47876
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Intestinal lymphangiectasias
  • Intestinal lymphangiectasiae
  • Bowel lymphangiectasia
  • Bowel lymphangiectasias
  • lymphangiectasia involving the bowel
  • lymphangiectasia involving the intestine

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