Lymph nodes not lymphoma
Inflammatory disorders (non-infectious)
Acute nonspecific lymphadenitis

Author: Jaya Panicker, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 13 April 2017, last major update April 2017

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Acute nonspecific lymphadenitis
Cite this page: Acute nonspecific lymphadenitis. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://pathologyoutlines.com/topic/lymphnodesacutenonspecificlymphadenitis.html. Accessed April 26th, 2017.
Definition / General
  • Acute inflammation of lymph nodes
Essential Features
  • Enlarged and painful, tender lymph nodes
  • Microscopic examination, if performed, will show sinus dilatation followed by accumulation of neutrophils, vascular dilatation and edema of the capsule
Terminology
  • Acute nonspecific lymphadenitis, nontuberculous lymphadenitis
ICD-10 coding
  • L04
Epidemiology
  • Common, mostly affects children
Sites
  • Cervical lymph nodes are commonly affected
  • Acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis is also a relatively common in children
Pathophysiology
  • Acute inflammation of the involved lymph node / nodes due to an infectious or inflammatory etiology
Etiology
  • Most commonly due to viral infections
  • Most common bacterial causes are Staphylococcus aureus and beta hemolytic streptococcus
  • Inflammation of the draining sites or direct inflammation of the lymph nodes can be the cause
Clinical Features
  • Enlarged painful / tender lymph nodes, redness of overlying skin, low grade fever, malaise
Diagnosis
  • Clinical examination, exclude specific causes
Laboratory
  • Depending on the cause, CBC may show leukocytosis with neutrophilia or lymphocytosis, elevated ESR and bacterial / viral confirmatory tests may be positive
Prognostic Factors
  • Good prognosis
Treatment
  • Treat the underlying cause, supportive therapy
Gross Description
  • Enlarged lymph node
  • If bacterial infection, there can be suppuration leading to necrosis and abscess formation
Micro Description
  • Biopsy is rarely performed
  • Microscopic examination, if performed, will show sinus dilatation followed by accumulation of neutrophils, vascular dilatation and edema of the capsule
  • If bacterial origin, suppurative inflammation is present
  • Necrotizing inflammation can be seen in bubonic plague and tularemia, Still’s disease and Kikuchi necrotizing lymphadenitis
Micro Images

Images hosted on other server:
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Acute lymphadenitis

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Foci of necrosis and acute inflammatory cells

Cytology Description
  • Mixed small and large lymphocytes admixed with neutrophils
Positive Stains
  • Varies by etiology
  • Gram stain highlights bacterial, if present
Differential Diagnosis