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Free Content Management of peripheral lymph node tuberculosis in routine practice: an unselected 10-year cohort

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BACKGROUND: The varied behaviour of tuberculous lymph nodes during TB chemotherapy can cause clinical uncertainty, resulting in prolonged courses of treatment.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether results in routine practice in Blackburn, a high-incidence tuberculosis (TB) area in England and Wales, replicated the results of the 6-month chemotherapy trial for lymph node TB conducted by the British Thoracic Society.

DESIGN: All TB cases managed at the Blackburn Chest Clinic are recorded prospectively. Patients with lymph node TB were identified over a 10-year period.

RESULTS: A total of 100 patients with lymph node TB were listed in the database. Fine-needle aspiration was performed in 49 patients, while 66 underwent incisional lymph node biopsy. Culture confirmation was achieved in 60 cases. Sinus and new lymph node development was comparable between our study and the BTS trial. After cessation of treatment, 10 patients developed new/enlarged lymph nodes, but further investigations revealed that only three patients had relapsed TB.

CONCLUSION: The varied behaviour of lymph node TB during and after treatment causes clinical uncertainty. Six months of chemotherapy is effective for fully susceptible TB in routine clinical practice in England. Investigation of new signs is important in differentiating patients with relapsed TB from normal varied behaviour.

Keywords: extra-pulmonary tuberculosis; lymph node; treatment

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Chest Clinic, Royal Blackburn Hospital, Blackburn, UK 2: Chest Clinic, Royal Blackburn Hospital, Blackburn, UK; and Lancashire Postgraduate School of Medicine and Health, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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