Study objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy and safety of transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) in patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the ICU.
Methods: Retrospective review of all patients in the medical and surgical ICUs from February 1999 to July 2001 who underwent TBNA while receiving mechanical ventilation.
Results: A total of eight histology (19 gauge) and eight cytology (22 gauge) TBNAs were performed on eight patients (four men and four women). TBNA yielded a definitive pathologic diagnosis in five of eight patients (62.5%). Diagnoses were posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disorder, large cell carcinoma, poorly differentiated non-small cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. Among patients with negative TBNA results (n = 3), two patients underwent mediastinoscopy. Results of mediastinoscopy were non-small cell carcinoma and inflamed tissue. TBNA led to management changes in five of these patients. Excluding one patient in whom a negative TBNA result could not be further confirmed, TBNA yielded a sensitivity of 83%, a specificity of 100%, a positive predictive value of 100%, and a negative predictive value of 50%. The overall accuracy of the procedure was 75%. There were no complications following any of the TBNAs.
Conclusions: In this small group of patients, TBNA was safe and had a high diagnostic accuracy in selected patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the ICU.