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Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy- How long can it last??
Jan 1, 2002

By defining persistent generalized lymphadenopathy as having 2 or more extra inguinal swollen lymph nodes for more than 3 months, do these swollen nodes normally go away after 3 months or do they normally persist throughout the course of the disease? (Any indication on how long they normally persist?) I have had swollen nodes all over for more than 2 months (appeared after 5-6 weeks of exposure without fever). And is it normal to have parotid nodes, anterior cervical, submental and groin swollen at the same time? Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy is very common in HIV'ers. PGL is nothing more than the body trying to fight off the HIV infection. PGL is a diagnosis best made by a lymph node biopsy. Have you had a biopsy?

How long will the swollen lymph nodes last? It's been my experience that the swollen lymph nodes can last for YEARS. Patients vary in terms of how large the lymph nodes get and in terms of where the lymph nodes are distributed. I have many patients in my practice who have very large lymph nodes (particularly in the groin area), which have been present for 5 years or more. Usually these enlarged lymph nodes are a good sign. Sometimes we re-biopsy these nodes. Usually they just continue to show PGL. It's important to re-biopsy nodes if they change in character or size. That could be a sign that something else is going on (e.g. a lymph node harboring an infection of a cancer).


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