Mesenteric lymphadenopathy in children examined by US for chronic and/or recurrent abdominal pain

Pediatr Radiol. 2003 Dec;33(12):864-7. doi: 10.1007/s00247-003-0985-7. Epub 2003 Sep 16.


Background: Children with recurrent abdominal pain often undergo US to confirm or exclude organic disease.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of mesenteric lymphadenopathy on US in these children.

Materials and methods: We prospectively studied 189 children with recurrent abdominal pain with US of the abdomen, using graded compression. The results were compared with 73 children in a control group. The children in both groups were divided into three age groups. The size, number, morphology and location of mesenteric lymph nodes were noted, as well as additional findings. Pediatricians followed the patients from 3 months to 1 year, and a repeat US study was done in 30 children.

Results: Mesenteric lymphadenopathy was present in 116 of 189 children (61.4%), with the greatest prevalence in boys in the younger age groups. The location of the nodes was mainly in the right lower quadrant. In the control group, 7 of 73 children had mesenteric lymphadenopathy, a significantly lower prevalence than in the study group ( P<0.001). Additional findings, apart from lymphadenopathy, were present in 27 (14.2%) of the 189 children in the study group, and in 5 (6.8%) of the 73 children in the control group.

Conclusion: Mesenteric lymphadenopathy is a common, and often the only abnormal, finding on US in children with recurrent abdominal pain.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / complications
  • Abdominal Pain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / complications
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Mesentery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Ultrasonography