Study objectives: Endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS) is used as guidance for transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA), and real-time imaging of the needle position cannot be confirmed with a single-channel bronchoscope. We assessed the usefulness of EBUS-guided TBNA using a double-channel bronchoscope (EBUS-D), which provides real-time needle position, and compared it with EBUS-guided TBNA using a single-channel bronchoscope (EBUS-S).
Design: Randomized, comparative prospective study.
Setting: Hiroshima City Hospital, a tertiary-referral teaching hospital.
Patients: Between January 2000 and August 2003, 55 patients with intrathoracic lymphadenopathy were included. Patients were randomized to undergo EBUS-D (n = 30) or EBUS-S (n = 25).
Methods: EBUS-D: The EBUS probe and TBNA catheter were inserted simultaneously through a double-channel bronchoscope. Once the needle placement in the lesion was confirmed by EBUS, TBNA was performed. EBUS-S: The EBUS probe was removed after the determination of the penetration site. Then, the TBNA catheter was inserted and TBNA was performed.
Results: All the lymph nodes could be visualized with EBUS in each group of patients. In the EBUS-D group, the TBNA needle was visualized as a hyperechoic point on the real-time EBUS image. The diagnostic accuracy rate of EBUS-D and EBUS-S were statistically significantly different (97% vs 76%, respectively; p = 0.025). On second attempt of TBNA, the diagnostic rate of the EBUS-D group was superior to that of the EBUS-S group (85.7% vs 33.3%, respectively; p = 0.036). The mean number of penetrations was 1.24 in the EBUS-D group and 1.36 in the EBUS-S group. No complications were observed in the EBUS-D group, but a self-limiting hemorrhage occurred in a patient in the EBUS-S group.
Conclusion: EBUS-D is useful for diagnosing intrathoracic lymphadenopathy, and the obtained specimen with real-time confirmation of the needle is directly proportional to an accurate diagnosis.