Study objectives: We performed ultrathin bronchoscopy for pulmonary peripheral lesions using a system that displays virtual bronchoscopy (VB) images to the lesion simultaneously with actual images and navigates the bronchoscope to the target bronchus. We then evaluated the system with regard to its usefulness and problems.
Design: A pilot study.
Setting: A tertiary teaching hospital.
Patients: The subjects were consecutive patients with small pulmonary peripheral lesions (≤ 30 mm).
Interventions: Using this system, the rotation, advancement, and retreat of VB images were possible, and the bronchus into which the bronchoscope was to be advanced was displayed. VB images were displayed along with actual images, and the ultrathin bronchoscope was advanced to the target bronchus under direct vision. Under CT and radiographic fluoroscopy, a pair of forceps was inserted into the lesion via the bronchoscope. Thin-section CT images were obtained; after confirming the advancement of the bronchoscope into the target bronchus and the arrival of the forceps at the lesion, a biopsy was performed.
Results: Study subjects included 37 patients with 38 lesions. VB images to a median of the sixth- (third- to ninth-) order bronchi could be produced. Using this system, the ultrathin bronchoscope could be advanced into the planned route for 36 of the 38 lesions (94.7%). The system was used for a median of 2.6 min, and the median examination time was 24.9 min. The biopsy forceps could be advanced to the lesion in 33 of the 38 lesions (86.8%), and diagnosis was possible for 31 lesions (81.6%).
Conclusions: This navigation system is useful for ultrathin bronchoscopy for pulmonary peripheral lesions.