Chylothorax is a rare but serious postoperative complication of thoracic surgical procedures. We report the case of a 77-year-old man who underwent a coronary artery bypass procedure using a left internal mammary artery pedicle graft. A permanent pacemaker was required postoperatively. A persistent postoperative chylothorax developed necessitating continuous drainage and conservative management. Somatostatin was instituted when after 1 week this management failed to resolve the chylothorax. This led to rapid cessation of chyle production. Enteral feeding was reinstituted without complication and surgical intervention was avoided. (C) 2000 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.