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J Clin Pathol. 2001 July; 54(7): 562–564.
PMCID: PMC1731461

Lymphadenopathy and lymph node infarction as a result of gold injections


This report describes a case of lymphadenopathy and lymph node infarction as a consequence of intramuscular gold administered to a patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, to highlight this rare association. A 34 year old woman with a four year history of rheumatoid arthritis affecting multiple joints was started on intramuscular gold injections after little response to anti-inflammatory medication. After her sixth injection the patient developed enlarged neck and axillary lymph nodes. Biopsy showed subtotal infarction of a reactive node, confirmed by histochemical, immunohistochemical, and molecular techniques. The patient continued to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis with no evidence of malignant lymphoma after three years. This case provides strong evidence that lymphadenopathy with infarction is a rare complication of gold injections. In such a situation, it is particularly important to exclude a diagnosis of lymphoma, because this is the most common cause of spontaneous lymph node infarction. This can be achieved through awareness of the association, and by the use of ancillary histochemical, immunohistochemical, and molecular techniques on the biopsy material.

Key Words: lymph node infarction • gold • rheumatoid arthritis

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Figure 1 Haematoxylin and eosin stained section showing infarcted lymphoid tissue on the right and a peripheral rim of organising granulation tissue in the region of the subcapsular sinus.
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Figure 2 A reticulin stain showing preservation of the lymph node architecture and confirming the presence of follicular structures.

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