Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial infection that typically causes swelling of the lymph nodes. It usually results from the scratch, lick, or bite of a cat. In the United States, about 22,000 cases are diagnosed annually, most of them in people under the age of 21. For most children, this bacterial infection will either resolve on its own or be treated like a general infection by a pediatrician.
But a new study presented at the 2007 AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO indicates that some children suffering from CSD may require surgical intervention. The retrospective study reviewed case histories of nine patients diagnosed with CSD who were initially treated with antibiotic therapy. Six of the nine patients did not respond appropriately to the antibiotic therapy and required surgery; however, no patients exhibited a recurrence or major complication after surgical intervention.
The results of the study provide additional insight for ENT physicians and referring pediatricians caring for children with CSD. Surgical drainage and removal of the lymph nodes can confirm the diagnosis of CSD and provide tissue to rule out other diseases. The study concluded the approach is safe and well tolerated by patients, with minimal complications.