[Bilateral swelling of the parotid glands as part of a systemic disease]

J Pijpe, W W Kalk, H Bootsma, J E van der Wal, G W van Imhoff, A Vissink
Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 2003 November 22, 147 (47): 2309-15
In four patients, a man aged 34 years and three women aged 35, 32 and 55 years respectively bilateral swelling of the parotid glands was caused by systemic disease i.e. HIV-salivary gland disease, mucosa-associated lymphoid-tissue (MALT) lymphoma, sarcoidosis with coexisting Sjögren's syndrome, and sialosis and hypothyroidism, respectively. The HIV patient was treated with antiretroviral therapy, the first two women were treated expectantly and the third woman was given a thyroid hormone supplement which resulted in regression of the bilateral parotid enlargement. Bilateral enlargement of the parotid glands is not necessarily caused by infection, it can also be of systemic origin. Minimal invasive investigations of the salivary glands, such as sialography, measurement of salivary secretion rate (sialometry) and analysis of salivary composition (sialochemistry) can offer valuable information about the origin of the parotid gland swelling. Histopathological investigation of an incision biopsy of the parotid gland is an easy way to confirm the diagnosis. The morbidity associated with parotid biopsy is negligible.

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