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Mesenteric adenitis
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Mesenteric adenitis

Contributors: Michael W. Winter MD, Paritosh Prasad MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Mesenteric adenitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the mesenteric lymph nodes. It classically presents with lymphadenopathy and right lower quadrant abdominal pain, sometimes associated with fever, malaise, anorexia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a systemic inflammatory response. It is often mistaken for appendicitis.

Most commonly, mesenteric adenitis is diagnosed in pediatric patients and is associated with bacterial or viral infections (eg, Yersinia spp, Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp, Group A streptococcal pharyngitis) as well as inflammatory bowel disease and lymphoma. Immunocompromised patients are at increased risk for both gastrointestinal tract infections and mesenteric adenitis.

The disease course can range from mild symptoms that are self-limited to severe symptoms and systemic infection requiring hospitalization, intravenous fluid resuscitation, and broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy. Presentation can be either acute or chronic. Disease course can be complicated by abscess formation or end-organ damage from sepsis.


I88.0 – Nonspecific mesenteric lymphadenitis

267548000 – Nonspecific mesenteric adenitis

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Acute appendicitis
  • Tuberculous enteritis
  • Lymphoma
  • Carcinoid tumor
  • Immunoglobulin A vasculitis (formerly Henoch-Schönlein purpura)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (eg, Crohn disease, Ulcerative colitis)
  • Intestinal malrotation
  • Acute porphyrias (eg, Acute intermittent porphyria)
  • Intussusception
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Urinary tract infection / Pyelonephritis
  • Ruptured Ovarian cysts
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Constipation (eg, Drug-induced constipation)
  • Cow milk protein intolerance
  • Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome
  • Intraabdominal abscess
  • Pancreatitis (Acute pancreatitis and Chronic pancreatitis)
  • Meckel diverticulum
  • Neoplasms
  • Diverticulitis
  • Gastroenteritis or Colitis

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Last Reviewed:02/26/2018
Last Updated:12/13/2018
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Mesenteric adenitis
A medical illustration showing key findings of Mesenteric adenitis : Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, Fever, Malaise, Anorexia, RLQ pain
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.