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Cervical Adenitis, Emergency Medicine

Julie Zeller Reviewed 06/2017



  • Acute bacterial infection of a cervical lymph node

    • Often arising after a prior bacterial infection of the head or neck area

  • Primarily a pediatric disease:

    • Becoming more common in adults...


Signs and Symptoms

  • Enlarged, tender cervical lymph node

  • Usually unilateral and solitary

  • Warmth and erythema of overlying skin

  • Early in course, node is firm but may become fluctuant later

  • With or ...


Initial Stabilization/Therapy

  • Oxygen, monitor airway for any signs of compromise

  • Universal precautions

Ed Treatment/Procedures

  • Treatment directed toward the primary source of infection in the he...



Admission Criteria

  • Neonates

  • Airway compromise

  • Patient appears ill

  • Immunocompromised

  • Inability to take PO

  • Not improving on oral antibiotics

Discharge Criteria

  • Most patients can be discharg...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Cervical adenitis is a clinical diagnosis

  • Unilateral warm, tender, swollen, erythematous lymph node

  • Most common bacteria responsible for infection are group A Strep and S. aureus.

  • Con...

Additional Reading

  • Hay  WW, Levin  MJ Jr, Deterding  R, et al. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. McGraw-Hill; 2012:503.

  • Healy  CM. Diagnostic approach to and initial treatment of...



683 Acute lymphadenitis 


L04.0 Acute lymphadenitis of face, head and neck 


  • 238405002 Acute cervical adenitis (disorder)

  • 3502005 cervical lymphadenitis (disorder)

  • 15170009 Submandibula...

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