[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
December 1994

Fine Needle Aspiration in the Evaluation of Children With Lymphadenopathy

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(12):1327-1330. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170120089017

Objective:  To evaluate fine needle aspiration of enlarged lymph nodes in children.

Design:  Retrospective study of children who were referred for fine needle aspiration of a palpable lymph node that was of concern to their clinicians.

Setting:  Large, urban, tertiary care pediatric hospital.

Subjects:  One hundred nineteen patients (123 cases) aged 10 months through 21 years during the 30-month period from January 1990 to June 1992.

Results:  Aspirated material in 13 cases (10.6%) was deemed inadequate for cytologic diagnosis. In the remaining 110 cases, five aspirates revealed malignancy: two patients had Hodgkin's disease, one had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, one had a leukemic infiltrate, and one had rhabdomyosarcoma. The findings in two cases were suspicious for malignancy, but the lymph nodes were found to be benign on excisional biopsy. No false-negative findings for malignancy were detected. The conditions of patients in the remaining 103 cases were diagnosed as a benign process, most commonly reactive lymphadenitis. Of 57 aspirates cultured, eight (14%) were positive for a microorganism. No significant complications were encountered in any of the 123 cases.

Conclusion:  Fine needle aspiration of enlarged lymph nodes in children is a safe, reliable (accuracy, 98%) procedure that often obviates the need for an excisional biopsy.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:1327-1330)