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Cervical lymphadenopathy in children--incidence and diagnostic management.

OBJECTIVE: Palpable lymph nodes are common due to the reactive hyperplasia of lymphatic tissue mainly connected with local inflammatory process. Differential diagnosis of persistent nodular change on the neck is different in children, due to higher incidence of congenital abnormalities and infectious diseases and relative rarity of malignancies in that age group. The aim of our study was to analyse the most common causes of childhood cervical lymphadenopathy and determine of management guidelines on the basis of clinical examination and ultrasonographic evaluation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The research covered 87 children with cervical lymphadenopathy. Age, gender and accompanying diseases of the patients were assessed. All the patients were diagnosed radiologically on the basis of ultrasonographic evaluation.

RESULTS: Reactive inflammatory changes of bacterial origin were observed in 50 children (57.5%). Fever was the most common general symptom accompanying lymphadenopathy and was observed in 21 cases (24.1%). The ultrasonographic evaluation revealed oval-shaped lymph nodes with the domination of long axis in 78 patients (89.66%). The proper width of hilus and their proper vascularization were observed in 75 children (86.2%). Some additional clinical and laboratory tests were needed in the patients with abnormal sonographic image.

CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasonographic imaging is extremely helpful in diagnostics, differentiation and following the treatment of childhood lymphadenopathy. Failure of regression after 4-6 weeks might be an indication for a diagnostic biopsy.

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