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Disease, Kikuchi

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Kikuchi disease was first described in 1972 in Japan, by Dr. Masahiro Kikuchi.

Kikuchi disease is a benign (non-cancerous) condition of the lymph nodes (small bean-shaped organs located along the channels of the lymphatic system - the tissues and organs that produce and store cells that fight infection and diseases).



The main symptoms include:

  1. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  2. Mild fever
  3. Night sweats

  Less common symptoms include:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Sore throat



The exact cause of Kikuchi disease is not known. However, two possible explanations have been proposed for the disease. One is that it may be due to a virus or other infectious agents. This is supported by the fact that Kikuchi disease is frequently associated with symptoms similar to those of certain viral infections, and the condition's spontaneous resolution (goes away on its own) with or without specific treatment.

Another cause is that it may be due to an autoimmune condition (when the body's immune system - how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign and harmful). According to this, Kikuchi disease occurs when one or more agents trigger a temporary immune response..



A diagnosis of Kikuchi disease is based on the presence of certain signs and symptoms. The only test available to confirm the diagnosis is a lymph node biopsy (the removal of lymph node tissue for examination under a microscope). Other types of laboratory tests (sample of blood, urine or body tissue) and imaging studies may also be used to support the diagnosis and/or rule out other conditions that cause similar features.



Kikuchi disease generally goes away on its own within one to four months, with or without intervention.

Treatments are available to relieve some of the associated signs and symptoms.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve)) may be used to ease lymph node tenderness and fever.

Corticosteroids (medicines used to treat conditions such as rashes, lupus, and asthma, and to reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort) have been recommended in severe cases.


Other Information

Kikuchi disease shares gender and age predisposition as well as histology features with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).




Further Reading

Other Medical Definitions