Lymphadenopathy: what defines a palpable lymph node?

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/hed.23578
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TypeArticle
Journal titleHead & Neck
ISSN10433074
Volume36
Issue2
Pagesn/a
Subjectphysical examination; lymph node palpation; medical education; simulation
AbstractBACKGROUND: The threshold size required to detect lymphadenopathy via palpation has never been formally determined. The purpose of this study was to determine the threshold, sensitivity, and error of node palpation and how this changes with experience. METHODS: Lymphadenopathy models were created using polyvinyl alcohol cryogel (PVA-C) to mimic tissue tactility. Node diameter ranged from 0.5 to 4 cm. Study subjects were medical students, otolaryngology residents, and otolaryngology consultants. Each subject provided 22 estimates of size. Primary outcomes were the sensitivity, error (true vs estimated size), and threshold of palpation. RESULTS: Thirty subjects completed the study. Sensitivity was 60%, 74%, and 86% for students, residents, and consultants, respectively (p < .01). Error was 0.88 cm, 0.61 cm, and 0.57 cm, respectively (p < .05). Palpation threshold was 1.32 cm, 0.83 cm, and 0.75 cm, respectively (p < .05). All participants detected nodes ≥2 cm, whereas consultants detected nodes ≥1 cm.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; Medical Devices
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272013
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Record identifier1de2483b-8e29-445f-ab5b-e19280f07a54
Record created2014-05-21
Record modified2016-05-09
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