Study objectives: To assess the diagnostic accuracy and safety of flexible bronchoscopy with multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) images and ultrafast Papanicolaou (UFP) stain in evaluating solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs).
Design: Prospective study of bronchoscopies performed between June 2000 and June 2002.
Patients: One hundred consecutive patients with SPNs underwent bronchoscopy with MPR and UFP (MPR and UFP group). The data on historical control were collected in a retrospective fashion, between July 1997 and June 2000.
Method: All information obtained from MPR regarding the leading bronchus of the SPNs was used to guide biopsy. Samples obtained by curette biopsies were stained with UFP and evaluated by a cytopathologist during the bronchoscopy procedure.
Results: There were 88 malignant and 12 benign lesions in the MPR and UFP group, and 97 malignant and 3 benign lesions in the historical control group. The total diagnostic accuracy of bronchoscopy in the MPR and UFP group (91%) was significantly higher compared with the historical control group (58%) [p < 0.05]. Although the yield of bronchoscopy was significantly related to the lesion size in the historical control group (p < 0.05), there was no significant association between the diagnostic yield and lesion size in the MPR and UFP group. The diagnostic yield for SPNs < 4.0 cm in the MPR and UFP group was significantly higher compared with the historical control group (p < 0.05). In addition, the diagnostic yield in both upper lobes in the MPR and UFP group was significantly higher compared with the historical control group (p < 0.05). On the contrary, the complication rate was significantly lower in the MPR and UFP group (2%) compared with the historical control group (13%) [p < 0.05].
Conclusion: Combined use of the MPR image and UFP during flexible bronchoscopy improved diagnostic accuracy and safety in evaluating SPNs using a double-hinged curette.