Node Assessment Program (NAP)

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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 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 should be examined at the Node Assessment Program's clinic.

Node Assessment Program Leadership

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, MB, BCh, BAO, MPH
Department of Otolaryngology
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

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

Contact Us

To request an appointment at the Node Assessment Program, call 855-345-6633 or email 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: 855-345-6633
Fax: 617-730-0298