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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997 Mar;16(3):269-72.

Hepatosplenic cat-scratch disease and abdominal pain.

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Department of Pediatrics, Egleston Children's Hospital, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.



There have been several recent reports that cat-scratch disease (CSD) causes a multiplicity of atypical clinical syndromes. We recently diagnosed hepatosplenic CSD in a child who was seen with fever and abdominal pain. We report this case and 10 other patients with hepatosplenic CSD and highlight the importance of abdominal pain in this clinical entity.


This was a retrospective review of charts of patients with a diagnosis of cat-scratch disease at Egleston Children's Hospital between January, 1985, and June, 1996. From these cases patients with hepatosplenic CSD were selected for study.


Seven children (64%) had significant abdominal pain, and in three children abdominal pain was their chief complaint. All children in the study had pathologic evidence of CSD or elevated titers of antibodies to Bartonella henselae. Ultrasound examination showed that all children had microabscesses in the spleen, and eight had abscesses in the liver.


One of the most remarkable findings in this large series of cases of hepatosplenic CSD was that 64% of the patients complained of abdominal pain. All children in this study received antibiotics. It was our clinical impression that once antibiotics had been started, the patients appeared to improve very quickly. With an increased index of suspicion, the use of B. henselae serology and an abdominal ultrasound examination, the diagnosis of this underrecognized disease might be more readily made.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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