Axillary lymph node imaging in mRNA, vector-based, and mix-and-match COVID-19 vaccine recipients: ultrasound features
Alba Cristina Igual-Rouilleault 1 , Ignacio Soriano 2 , Arlette Elizalde 3 , Paola Leonor Quan 4 , Alejandro Fernandez-Montero 5 , Carolina Sobrido 6 , Luis Pina 3
Objectives: To assess ultrasound characteristics of ipsilateral axillary lymph nodes after two doses of four different COVID-19 vaccination protocols, to determine whether these parameters differed with age, and to describe how they changed on follow-up imaging.
Methods: A total of 247 volunteer employees from our center who had received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination were recruited and followed prospectively. Axillary ultrasound of the ipsilateral vaccinated arm was performed the week after receiving the second dose to analyze lymph node features (number, long-axis, cortical thickness, morphology, and vascular imaging). Axillary lymphadenopathy resulting from four vaccination protocols-mRNA (BNT162b2, mRNA-1273), ChAdOx1-S, and mix-and-match-was compared. Analysis was conducted using the Kruskal-Wallis test and post hoc analysis with Bonferroni corrections. Nodal reactogenicity was evaluated for two age groups: young (< 45 years old) and middle-aged ( ≥ 45 years old). All parameters were compared between both groups using an unpaired-sample Student t test. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: Significantly higher values for total number of visible nodes, cortical thickness, Bedi's classification (p < 0.001), and vascularity (p < 0.05) were observed in mRNA vaccine recipients compared to full ChAdOx1-S protocol recipients. Moreover, mix-and-match protocol recipients showed greater nodal cortical thickness and higher Bedi's classification than full ChAdOx1-S recipients (p < 0.001). Analyses between age groups revealed greater cortical thickness, Bedi's classification, and color Doppler signal in younger patients (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Nodal parameters of Bedi's classification and cortical thickness were more often increased in mRNA and mix-and-match vaccine recipients when compared to ChAdOx1-S vaccine alone, especially in younger patients.