Lymphangitis Clinical Presentation

Updated: Dec 17, 2018
  • Author: Raymond D Pitetti, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Presentation

History

A history of minor trauma to an area of skin distal to the site of infection is often elicited in patients with lymphangitis. [4, 5, 6]

Children with lymphangitis often have fever, chills, and malaise, and some children may report a headache, loss of appetite, and muscle aches.

Patients often have a history of a recent cut or abrasion or of an area of skin that appears infected and spreading.

Lymphangitis can progress rapidly to bacteremia and disseminated infection and sepsis, particularly when caused by group A streptococci.

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Physical Examination

Upon clinical examination, erythematous and irregular linear streaks extend from the primary infection site toward draining regional nodes. These streaks may be tender and warm. Other characteristics can include the following:

  • The primary site may be an abscess, an infected wound, or an area of cellulitis

  • Blistering of the affected skin may occur

  • Lymph nodes associated with the infected lymphatic channels are often swollen and tender

  • Patients may be febrile and tachycardic

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