OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the auramine orange (AO) stain in diagnosing mycobacterial cervical adenitis (MCA) from fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology. METHODS: A retrospective review of 19 patients evaluated at 2 urban hospitals from 2000 to 2003 for suspected MCA. FNA specimens were inoculated to culture media and had direct smears stained by the auramine acid fast method. RESULTS: Mycobacteria were identified in 16 (84.2%) of 19 AO-stained FNA specimens, with results available within 4 hours. Corresponding cultures were positive for mycobacteria in 12 specimens, 9 tuberculous and 3 nontuberculous, and grew Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the 3 AO-negative specimens. Three of the 4 patients with negative cultures had previously taken anti-mycobacterial medications. CONCLUSION: The AO stain with fluorescence microscopy is a sensitive and rapid method for detecting tuberculous and nontuberculous mycobacteria. It is a valuable tool for the otolaryngologists and pathologists in the diagnosis of MCA.
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