Study objectives: We evaluated the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of transbronchial biopsy (TBB) using endobronchial ultrasonography with a guide sheath (EBUS-GS) and virtual bronchoscopy (VB) navigation for small peripheral pulmonary lesions ≤ 30 mm in diameter.
Design: Pilot study.
Setting: A national university hospital.
Patients: We performed TBB using EBUS-GS with VB navigation for 29 patients with 30 small peripheral pulmonary lesions (average diameter, 18.6 mm) between January 1, 2004, and August 31, 2004.
Interventions: VB images were reconstructed from helical CT data. TBB was then performed using EBUS-GS with VB navigation.
Results: In all patients, TBB was performed safely with no complications. Bronchi seen on VB imaging were highly consistent with the actual structures confirmed using fiberoptic bronchoscopy. Following VB navigation, the endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS) probe was inserted into third- to sixth-generation bronchi. Twenty-four lesions (80%) were visualized on EBUS images. Average durations of the initial EBUS examination of lesions, first biopsy, and the total procedure were 9.56 min, 11.99 min, and 25.72 min, respectively. Nineteen lesions (63.3%) were diagnosed from histopathologic or cytologic examination. Diagnostic sensitivities were 44.4% (8 of 18) for lesions < 20 mm in mean diameter and 91.7% (11 of 12) for lesions 20 to 30 mm in mean diameter.
Conclusions: In summary, TBB using EBUS-GS with VB navigation was safely performed and was effective in diagnosing small peripheral pulmonary lesions.