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Clinical Characteristics of Severe Histiocytic Necrotizing Lymphadenitis (Kikuchi-Fujimoto Disease) in Children.

OBJECTIVES: To analyze the clinical characteristics of children with Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease focusing on cases with prolonged fever.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective study of children diagnosed with Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease from March 2003 to February 2015 in South Korea. Electronic medical records were searched for clinical and laboratory manifestations.

RESULTS: Among 86 histopathologically confirmed cases, the mean age was 13.2 (SD ± 3.1) years, and male to female ratio was 1:1.32. Cervical lymph node enlargement, found in 85 of the patients (99%), was predominantly unilateral in 64 (75%), and involved the cervical lymph node level V in 67 (81%). Fever was present in 76% of the cases, with a median duration of 9 days (IQR 0.25-17.0). Multivariate analysis revealed that a high fever peak ≥ 39.0°C (P = .010) and presentation with ≥ 2 systemic symptoms other than fever (P = .027) were factors that were significantly associated with longer fever duration. As the size of the largest lymph node's short diameter increased, the fever duration increased (P = .015). Leukopenia (P = .022) also had a significant association with a longer fever duration. Patients with sonographic findings of conglomerated enlarged lymph nodes had a longer median duration of fever compared with those with separate enlarged lymph nodes (11 vs 4.5 days, P = .019).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with high fever, more systemic symptoms, leukopenia, and larger lymph nodes with a conglomerated distribution may benefit from early recognition and selective consideration of corticosteroid therapy.

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