Treatment patterns of pediatric nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) cervical lymphadenitis as reported by nationwide surveys of pediatric otolaryngology and infectious disease societies

E. F. Pilkington, C. J. MacArthur, S. E. Beekmann, P. M. Polgreen, K. L. Winthrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe physician diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for pediatric nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lymphadenitis, a disease for which surgical excision is recommended. Methods: We surveyed members of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Emerging Infections Network (EIN) and the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO). We asked them to report clinical and microbiologic details of recent cases of NTM lymphadenitis seen in their practices. Results: 200 physicians reported a total of 277 NTM lymphadenitis cases. Cervical lymph nodes (84%) were most frequently involved, and a majority of patients were non-Hispanic white (62%) males (54%) with median age 3.0 years. Tissue culture (61%) or polymerase chain reaction (12%) was utilized most frequently to confirm NTM etiology. In most (59%) cases, an etiologic organism was not identified. In cases, where an NTM organism isolate was identified, Mycobacterium avium complex (n = 82, 72%) was the most common. Surgical excision followed by adjunctive antibiotic therapy was favored in the majority (59%) of cases where a treatment method was reported. The use of surgical excision alone or antibiotic therapy alone was reported respectively in 24% and 17% of cases. Antibiotics were prescribed without diagnostic confirmation of infectious organisms in 28% of cases. Conclusion: Pediatric otolaryngologists and infectious disease specialists frequently treat cervical lymphadenitis empirically as NTM disease without bacteriologic confirmation. Antibiotic therapy is frequently employed with or without surgical excision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-346
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010



  • Antibiotics
  • Infection
  • Lymphadenitis
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)
  • Surgical
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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