Evaluation of mediastinal lymph nodes with endobronchial ultrasound: The thoracic surgeon's perspective

Rafael S. Andrade, Shawn S. Groth, Natasha M. Rueth, Jonathan D'Cunha, Stefan E. Pambuccian, Michael A. Maddaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: The objectives of our study are to (1) describe our experience with endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of mediastinal lymph nodes and (2) illustrate how thoracic surgeons facile with ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration have the potential to streamline patient care. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients within our prospectively maintained database who underwent endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of mediastinal lymph nodes by thoracic surgeons at the University of Minnesota from September 1, 2006, to April 15, 2009. We included patients in our analysis if (1) their malignancy diagnosis was based on immediate endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology or (2) they underwent a confirmatory procedure (ie, mediastinoscopy or thoracoscopy) that sampled the same mediastinal lymph node stations biopsied by endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration to verify normal, benign, or nondiagnostic endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration findings. We also collected data on additional diagnostic or therapeutic procedures performed in the same anesthesia setting as endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration. Results: Over the study period, 192 patients underwent endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration; 98 patients met our inclusion criteria. We achieved a sensitivity of 87.9%, specificity of 97.4%, and diagnostic accuracy of 91.7%. For patients undergoing lung cancer staging, we sampled a mean of 3.0 ± 0.9 mediastinal lymph node stations. Half of our patients underwent an additional diagnostic or therapeutic procedure at the time of endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration. Conclusion: Thoracic surgeons who perform endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration can achieve excellent sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy while adhering to sound oncologic principles. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration adds to the thoracic surgeon's unique capacity to expedite a diagnostic workup and treatment, thereby streamlining patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-583
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


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