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J Fam Pract. 1985 May;20(5):449-52.

Lymphadenopathy in a family practice: a descriptive study of 249 cases.


The charts of 249 patients with enlarged lymph nodes were audited to provide a further primary care data base and to clarify recommendations for evaluation of lymphadenopathy. A firm diagnosis was made in only 36 percent of patients despite an average of 1.7 visits and two laboratory tests per patient tested. Serious or treatable causes of lymphadenopathy were rare and were always accompanied by clinical conditions that suggested further evaluation. Lymph nodes were biopsied in only 3 percent of patients. No patient was found to have a prolonged, disabling illness without a prompt diagnosis. The data suggest that, in patients without associated signs or symptoms, a period of observation is safe and likely to save unnecessary expense and biopsy.

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