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Postgrad Med J. 2001 Mar;77(905):185-7.

Cervical tuberculous lymphadenopathy: changing clinical pattern and concepts in management.

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Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh, India.


Tuberculosis is one of the biggest health challenges the world is facing. In this study the clinical pattern of patients with cervical lymphadenitis, who presented to the ear, nose, and throat outpatient department of the Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh, India between June 1997 and May 1998 is recorded. Tuberculosis accounted for 60 out of 94 cases of cervical lymph node enlargement. The commonest age group affected was 11-20 years. Constitutional symptoms were not present in most of the patients. Multiple matted nodes were seen in 23 patients but a single discrete node was seen in 18 patients. Upper deep jugular nodes were the most commonly affected lymph nodes. Discharging sinus and abscess formation were uncommon. Fine needle aspiration cytology yielded a positive diagnosis in 52 out of 56 patients. Chest lesions on radiography were evident in 16% of the patients. Mantoux test was positive and was more than 15 mm in most of the patients. This study shows that the classical picture of "scrofula" is no longer seen nowadays and can probably be explained by the earlier presentation of the disease. All the patients were treated with short course daily chemotherapy for six months. Surgery was not required in the majority of patients except in four cases where excision biopsy was performed. Patients with abscess formation were managed with wide bore needle aspiration only. With a minimum six month period of follow up, no patient was found to have a recurrence of local or systemic disease. This study emphasises the role of fine needle aspiration cytology in diagnosis and confirms the efficacy of six months short course chemotherapy.

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