Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The occurrence of significant mediastinal lymphadenopathy together with pleural effusion or empyema inevitably raises concern about the presence of intrathoracic malignancy or granulomatous disease. Lymph node enlargement may also occur when pneumonia is accompanied by a parapneumonic effusion or empyema. Features that allow "benign" lymph node enlargement to be distinguished from malignant causes have not previously been determined. The present study aims to establish the CT characteristics of enlarged nodes in parapneumonic effusion. The appearances of mediastinal lymph nodes were recorded in 50 consecutive patients with parapneumonic effusion/empyema. 18 (36%) had mediastinal lymphadenopathy (node size greater than 1 cm). The mean number of enlarged nodes was 1.9 (range 1-3) and the mean size was 1.4 cm (2 cm maximum). Seven patients had a single involved site, nine patients two sites and two patients three sites. The right paratracheal area was most commonly involved and the subcarinal area contained the largest nodes. The presence of enlarged nodes did not correlate with biochemical and microbiological stage of pleural infection, length of history, or extent of consolidation. This study shows that mediastinal lymphadenopathy is commonly associated with parapneumonic effusion and that multiple sites may be involved. The degree of enlargement is moderate although lymphadenopathy of greater than 2 cm size should raise the possibility of other pathology.

Original publication

DOI

10.1259/bjr.73.870.10911779

Type

Journal article

Journal

Br J Radiol

Publication Date

06/2000

Volume

73

Pages

583 - 587

Keywords

Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cohort Studies, Empyema, Pleural, Female, Humans, Lymph Nodes, Lymphatic Diseases, Male, Mediastinum, Middle Aged, Pleural Effusion, Pneumonia, Bacterial, Tomography, X-Ray Computed