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CT pattern analysis of necrotizing and nonnecrotizing lymph nodes in Kikuchi disease.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a CT interpretation with imaging pattern analysis differentiates Kikuchi disease (KD) from the two more frequently encountered differential lymph nodes diagnoses of tuberculous lymphadenopathy (TL) and reactive hyperplasia (RH).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between January 2012 and July 2015, 20 patients with KD (6 men, 14 women; mean age, 27.80 years), 36 patients with RH (10 men, 26 women; mean age, 33.08 years) and 34 patients with TL (17 men, 17 women; mean age, 39.82 years) were pathologically diagnosed using US-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, or surgical excisional biopsy. We recorded the total number, location, and size of the affected cervical lymph nodes, and two radiologists reviewed the characteristic imaging findings, including the presence of necrosis, cortical enhancement pattern, perinodal infiltration, conglomeration and nodal calcification, to form a consensus. In addition, we compared two attenuation indices on the nonnecrotic portion of the affected lymph nodes, nodal cortical attenuation (NCA) and the ratio of NCA to the adjacent muscle (NCA/M).

RESULTS: Conglomeration, enhancement pattern and NCA/M values were independent predictive CT features to distinguish KD from RH. Age and enhancement pattern discriminated KD from TL. Only the mean NCA/M value was a statistically significant CT feature (p = .008) in differentiating KD from both RH+TL. The mean NCA/M of KD (1.67 ± 0.20) was significantly higher than that of RH (1.49 ± 0.20) or TL (1.47 ± 0.21).

CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that in case of nonnecrotic lymphadenopathy, a higher NCA/M index can differentiate KD from RH and TL. In addition, the enhancement pattern according to the degree of necrosis discriminated between KD and TL in the case of necrotic lymphadenopathy.

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