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Evaluation of unexplained peripheral lymphadenopathy and suspected malignancy using a distinct quick diagnostic delivery model: prospective study of 372 patients
Bosch Genover, Xavier; Coloma, Emmanuel; Donate, Carolina; Colomo Saperas, Lluís; Doti, Pamela; Jordán, Anna; López-Soto, Alfonso
Universitat de Barcelona
Although rapid diagnostic testing is essential in suspicious peripheral lymphadenopathy, delays in accessing them can be considerable. We investigated the usefulness of an internist-led outpatient quick diagnosis unit (QDU) in assessing patients with unexplained peripheral lymphadenopathy, focusing on the characteristics, diagnostic, and treatment waiting times of those with malignancy. Patients aged ≥ 18 years, consecutively referred from 12 primary health care centers (PHCs) or the emergency department (ED) for unexplained peripheral lymphadenopathy, were prospectively evaluated during 7 years. Diagnostic investigations were done using a predefined study protocol. Three experienced cytopathologists performed a fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) systematic approach of clinically suspicious lymphadenopathy with cytomorphology and immunophenotyping analyses. We evaluated 372 patients with a mean age (SD) of 45.3 (13.8) years; 56% were women. Malignancy was diagnosed in 120 (32%) patients, including 81 lymphomas and 39 metastatic tumors. Metastatic lymphadenopathy was diagnosed by FNAC in all 39 patients and the primary tumor site was identified in 82% of them when cytomorphology and immunocytochemistry were combined. A correct diagnosis of lymphoma was reached by FNAC in 73% of patients. When accepting 'suspicious of' as correct diagnosis, the FNAC diagnosis rate of lymphoma increased to 94%. Among patients with malignancy, FNAC yielded 1.3% of false negatives and no false positives. All patients with an FNAC report of correct or suspicious lymphoma underwent a surgical biopsy, as it is a mandatory requirement of the hematology department. Mean times from first QDU visit to FNAC diagnosis of malignancy were 5.4 days in metastatic lymphadenopathy and 7.5 days in lymphoma. Mean times from receiving the initial referral report to first treatment were 29.2 days in metastatic lymphadenopathy and 40 days in lymphoma. In conclusion, a distinct internal medicine QDU allows an expeditious, agile, and prearranged system to diagnose malignant peripheral lymphadenopathy. Because of the close collaboration with the cytopathology unit and the FNAC methodical approach, diagnostic and treatment waiting times of patients with malignancy fulfilled national and international time frame standards. This particular diagnostic delivery unit could help overcome the difficulties facing PHC, ED, and other physicians when trying to provide rapid access to investigations to patients with troublesome lymphadenopathy.
Assistència ambulatòria
Nodes limfàtics
Ambulatory medical care
Lymph nodes
cc-by (c) Bosch Genover, Xavier et al., 2014
Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. Wolters Kluwer Health

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