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Course of acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis: single-center experience


Available reports dealing with acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis do not address the total duration of symptoms. However, it is commonly assumed a time for recovery ≤ 4 weeks. The purpose of this report was to investigate the course of acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis in childhood. A review was made of the patients aged ≤ 16 years in whom the diagnosis of acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis was established between 2011 and 2015 at the Pediatric Emergency Unit. The records of the Pediatric Emergency Unit, those of the referring family doctors, and the results of a structured telephone interview with each family were used. Forty-four patients (25 girls and 19 boys) aged 2.5 to 16, median 8.2, years were included. A bimodal distribution in duration of symptoms was observed: symptoms persisted for ≤ 2 weeks in 22 patients and 3 to 10 weeks in 22. Clinical and laboratory characteristics were similar in children with symptoms persisting for 2 weeks or less 28 and in those with symptoms persisting for 3–10 weeks.

Conclusion: In patients affected with acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis, it is advantageous to think of the time span for recovery in terms of ≥ 4 weeks.

What is Known:
• Mesenteric adenitis is a self-limiting inflammatory condition with well-characterized clinical presentation and imaging features.
• A total duration of symptoms of ≤ 4 weeks is usually hypothesized.
What is New:
• Symptoms persist for 3 to 10 weeks in half of the patients.
• At presentation, clinical and laboratory characteristics are similar in children with symptoms persisting for 2 weeks or less and in those with 45 symptoms persisting for 3–10 weeks.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. Alec Villa for his assistance in the linguistic revision.


This work was supported in part by the Fondazione E. Balli and the Swiss Research Network of Clinical Pediatric Hubs. Dr. Gregorio P. Milani is the current recipient of research grants from the Fondazione G. & D. de Marchi ONLUS.

Author information

Concept of the manuscript: F.H., M.W., S.A.G.L., G.P.M., M.G.B., G.D.S and R.H.; Data acquisition: C.B, E.C., M.W. and R.H.; Data analysis: C.B., E.C., G.P.M., S.A.G.L. and M.G.B; Drafting of the manuscript: C.B, M.W., S.A.G.L. and G.P.M.; Critical revision of the manuscript: F.H., S.A.G.L., G.P.M. and G.D.S; Final manuscript: C.B, S.A.G.L., G.P.M., M.G.B. and R.H.

Correspondence to Mario G. Bianchetti.

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The study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Communicated by Peter de Winter

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Benetti, C., Conficconi, E., Hamitaga, F. et al. Course of acute nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis: single-center experience. Eur J Pediatr 177, 243–246 (2018).

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  • Abdominal pain
  • Appendicitis
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Mesenteric lymph nodes
  • Ultrasonography