Benign mediastinal lymphadenopathy in congestive heart failure

Chest. 2001 Feb;119(2):653-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.119.2.653.


We report three cases of benign mediastinal lymphadenopathy revealed by chest radiography in patients ranging in age from 61 to 75 years. All three patients had severe coronary heart disease and a history of several episodes of acute cardiac decompensation. Chest CT scanning contributed to the diagnosis by revealing the existence of multiple enlarged lymph nodes, mostly 10 to 17 mm in short-axis diameter. CT scanning also confirmed the disappearance of the mediastinal lymph nodes in one patient on follow-up after treatment with diuretics and digitalis. Histopathology investigations of biopsy samples obtained by mediastinoscopy consistently revealed noninflammatory, benign lesions that did not affect the node structure. Our report draws attention to the particular nosology of left heart disease represented by benign enlarged lymph nodes of the mediastinum and pulmonary edema. The diagnostic approach to such lymphadenopathy should be guided by the radiologic regression seen on follow-up CT scanning while the patient was undergoing appropriate therapy for congestive heart failure, which constitutes a decisive argument for the congestive heart failure origin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphatic Diseases / etiology*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed