Pediatr Infect Vaccine.  2019 Dec;26(3):179-187. 10.14776/piv.2019.26.e20.

Clinical Manifestations of PFAPA (Periodic Fever, Aphthous Stomatitis, Pharyngitis, and Adenitis) Syndrome from a Single Center

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University Children's Hospital, Seoul, the Republic of Korea.


Periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, and adenitis (PFAPA) syndrome is a leading cause of periodic fever in children. This study describes the clinical characteristics of PFAPA syndrome in patients from a single center.
Thirteen children diagnosed with PFAPA syndrome at Seoul National University Children's Hospital were included in this study. Retrospective medical chart reviews were performed.
Among the 13 patients, 8 (61.5%) were male. The median follow-up duration was 3.3 years (range, 10 months-8.3 years). The median age of periodic fever onset was 3 years (range, 1-6 years). All patients had at least 5 episodes of periodic fever and pharyngitis, managed with oral antibiotics, before diagnosis. The median occurrence of fever was every 3.9 weeks and lasted for 4.2 days. All patients had pharyngitis and 12 (92.3%) had cervical lymphadenitis. Blood tests were performed for 12 patients, and no patients had neutropenia. Both the C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate were elevated at medians of 4.5 mg/dL (range, 0.4-13.2 mg/dL) and 29 mm/hr (range, 16-49 mm/hr), respectively. Throat swab cultures and rapid streptococcal antigen tests were negative. Nine (69.2%) patients received oral prednisolone at a median dose of 0.8 mg/kg, and in 6 (66.7%) patients, fever resolved within a few hours. Three (23.1%) patients received tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.
PFAPA syndrome should be considered when a child presents with periodic fever along with aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, or cervical lymphadenitis. Glucocorticoid administration is effective for fever resolution and can reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics.


Fever; Aphthous stomatitis; Pharyngitis; Adenitis; Children
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