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Uncomplicated cat-scratch disease: findings at CT, MR imaging, and radiography.



To describe the epidemiologic, clinical, and imaging features of cat-scratch disease (CSD) to facilitate prompt recognition and noninvasive diagnosis of this condition.

Materials and methods

Eight otherwise healthy patients with pet cats presented with the subacute onset of epitrochlear, axillary, or groin masses. All underwent cross-sectional imaging with computed tomography (CT) (n = 1) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging (n = 7). Five patients underwent radiography of the elbow.


In all patients, MR imaging and CT showed a poorly defined soft-tissue mass with extensive surrounding edema in an efferent lymphatic distribution. Radiography revealed only soft-tissue edema in two patients and an ill-defined soft-tissue mass with soft-tissue edema in three patients. Six patients underwent biopsy; the findings of all pathologic specimens supported the diagnosis of CSD. No patients underwent serologic evaluation. All patients were asymptomatic within 4 weeks of beginning antibiotic therapy.


CSD should be considered in all patients with upper extremity or head and neck adenopathy and a history of cat exposure. Although generally not required for diagnosis, cross-sectional imaging will reveal a mass with surrounding edema in an area of lymphatic drainage.

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