Objective: This study assesses the role of fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) in the diagnosis of tuberculous lymphadenitis (TL) in comparison with histology and bacteriology findings. Study Design: We undertook a descriptive retrospective study of 937 FNAC specimens from 851 patients with cervical lymph nodes. The FNAC findings were then compared to histopathology and bacteriology. Results: Of the 937 aspirates, the cytopathological diagnoses consisted of 426 (55.9%) TL, 185 (24.3%) reactive lymphoid hyperplasia, 18 (2.3%) suppurative inflammation, 78 (10.2%) malignant metastatic tumor, and 54 (7%) lymphoma. Of the 426 TL cases, 171 were diagnosed by FNAC combined with bacteriological examination. In this group, 22 cases were found to be positive on Ziehl-Neelsen stain and 16 by culture. A histopathology report was available for 62 cases. Compared to histopathology, the overall diagnostic sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of FNAC in the diagnosis of cervical TL were, respectively, 96.77, 100, 100, and 96.67%. When comparing bacteriology to histopathology, these values were 97.44, 100, 100, and 91.67%. Conclusion: Our study shows that FNAC is a sensitive and specific tool for the diagnosis of cervical TL.

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