• Node Assessment Program (NAP)

    Our Node Assessment Program (NAP) provides a multidisciplinary approach to the care of children with persistent swelling of the lymph nodes (or glands), a condition known as lymphadenopathy. Pediatric patients of all ages and their families have access to experts in the field, including otolaryngologists, surgeons, pathologists, hematologists/oncologists, infectious disease specialists and radiologists from the top-ranked pediatric hospital in the United States. The first of its kind in New England, the Node Assessment Program accepts referrals, second opinions, and consultations from physicians and families for children with lymphadenopathy that require further evaluation to establish cause, severity, and treatment. Conveniently located in Waltham, Mass., about 15 miles from Boston, the program’s clinic is easily accessible to Routes 93, 95 and the Massachusetts Turnpike and is a full-service facility with free indoor parking, a cafeteria, and phlebotomy, radiology, and surgical suites.

    Our Integrated Approach

    Our integrated and multidisciplinary approach to care offers a streamlined and comprehensive evaluation for each child with swollen lymph nodes. Within the Node Assessment Program, physicians and surgeons specializing in lymphadenopathy examine each case that is called or referred into the clinic, treating the child collectively and consulting with a team of otolaryngologists, radiologists, pathologists, infectious disease specialists, hematologist /oncologists and other experts.

    Insights from family, such as how long a child has had swollen glands and any related illnesses, are obtained. Each patient is examined, and lab tests and X-rays may be performed to help diagnose the cause of the swollen lymph nodes. Often patients are seen for follow up visits for diagnostic and evaluation purposes.

    What is Lymphadenopathy and How is it Treated?

    Lymph nodes are small clusters of cells, known as lymphocytes, which filter and circulate essential fluid throughout the body. As an essential part of the immune system, white blood cells within the lymph nodes help fight infection; lymphadenopathy occurs most often when viruses (such as the flu, a sore throat, or the common cold) or bacterial infections cause lymph nodes to swell or enlarge. Signs of lymphadenopathy include enlarged nodules that may be painless or may be tender. 

    Swollen lymph nodes (or swollen “glands”) are very common in children, of all ages, and the treatment is often observation after initial screening, laboratory and radiologic imaging studies. Our experts recommend that parents whose children present with persistent swelling and/or redness in their lymph node area for several weeks have them examined at the Node Assessment Program’s clinic.

    Location, Contact and Referral Information

    To request an appointment at the Node Assessment Program, call 855-345-6633 (NODE) or email nap@dfci.harvard.edu. Each new case will be immediately assessed and triaged to determine its urgency. Appointments will be scheduled within one to three business days.

    Clinic Location:
    Boston Children's at Waltham
    9 Hope Avenue
    Waltham, MA 02453

    Mailing Address — Please send all materials here:
    Boston Children’s Hospital
    Department of General Surgery
    300 Longwood Avenue - Fegan 3
    Boston, MA 02115
    Phone: 1-855-345-6633
    Fax: 1-617-730-0298


    Rachael Grace, MD, MMSc
    Division of Hematology/Oncology
    Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

    Catherine S. Lachenauer, MD
    Division of Infectious Diseases
    Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

    Karen Watters, MD, MPH
    Department of Otolaryngology
    Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

    Christopher Weldon, MD, PhD
    Department of Surgery
    Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

  • Appointments & Referrals

    Call 617-355-0535 to learn about our Node Assessment Program. In urgent cases, we typically can see new patients within 24 hours.
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