Objective: To investigate the efficacy of medical antituberculous treatment in patients with tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis (TCL).
Methods: In the period 1996–2002, 73 TCL patients were reviewed and the results of clinical and laboratory testing were documented. The efficacy of a four-drug chemotherapy regimen was investigated.
Results: Purified protein derivatives (PPD) skin test results were positive in 58 (79 per cent) patients. Chest X-rays revealed changes consistent with tuberculosis in nine (12.3 per cent) patients. The mean duration of medical treatment was 10.04 months. In follow-up evaluation, 14 (20 per cent) patients were considered suspicious for resistant TCL and total excision of all nodes was performed. Histopathology confirmed TB in only 10 of these cases.
Conclusion: The high incidence of residual disease in our study indicates that medical treatment (at least nine months of four combined antituberculous drugs) did not seem to be effective. If lymphadenopathy persists, total surgical excision of lymph nodes should be the treatment of choice.