ACUTE nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis is a common cause of pain in the abdomen of children. Notwithstanding Aird's1 plea, made in 1945, for a wider recognition of this condition, it is still infrequently diagnosed; this is probably due to the fact that despite a typical clinical picture and a constant macroscopical pathology the etiology of the lesion is unknown.
Accurate diagnosis can be achieved in a large percentage of cases provided there is a clear conception of the condition. Aird1 stated: "A considerable number of children in whom a diagnosis of non-specific adenitis has been made in the outpatient department were not admitted, but were confidently allowed to go home."
Acute mesenteric lymphadenitis occurs most commonly between the ages of 3 and 15 years, with a peak incidence at both extremities of this age group. It is in the younger patients—3 to 6 years—that the greatest difficulty
FERGUSON G. ACUTE NONSPECIFIC MESENTERIC LYMPHADENITISPossible Mechanism of Pain Illustrated by Two Cases. AMA Arch Surg. 1952;65(6):906-911. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1952.01260020900016