LFHC Saves Infant with Rare Chest-Fluid Affliction

Immediately after Airnoy Khamyai was born in early June, doctors noticed he was having difficulty breathing. The delivery room summoned help from LFHC and its team quickly treated the infant with positive pressure ventilation and took him to our hospital’s Emergency Room.

A chest X-ray revealed a large amount of fluid in the right side of the newborn’s chest. Ultrasound imaging confirmed the presence of fluid.

The staff drained more than 100 milliliters (a little more than 3 fluid ounces) from Khamyai’s chest and his breathing quickly improved.Doctors continued to drain fluid during the next day and noticed that the amount was increasing and thickening as the infant’s mother began breastfeeding. This prompted the doctors to make a rare diagnosis of congenital chylothorax, a life-threatening anomaly that causes a substance called chyle to accumulate in the chest.

Dr. Shaun O’Dell, a volunteer neonatologist from Utah, helped the LFHC staff provide the specialized care that Khamyai needed. The nutrition team offered recommendations about feeding the infant and the lab techs centrifuged his breast milk to separate and remove the fat from the milk to reduce chest fluid.

Khamyai and his mother recently returned to LFHC for a follow-up visit. They are pictured here with Dr. Toulayang Briaxa (Joy) and Medical Director Dr. Lisa Rynn (holding the infant).

Infants with this condition need a special type of fat-free baby formula, called MCT formula, which is very expensive and not readily available. A very generous donation through the LFHC Outreach Program provided the special formula that Khamyai required.

After a little more than a month of intensive care in the Neonatal Unit, Khamyai and his parents returned to their home. His family will need to continue feeding him with MCT formula, give him his medications and bring him to LFHC for frequent check-ups and ultrasounds.