COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Mediastinal adenopathy: finding the answer with endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy

P R Walsh, D B Williams
Internal Medicine Journal 2005, 35 (7): 392-8
15958108

BACKGROUND: Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (EUS FNA) is a relatively new imaging modality that has been reported to be useful for mediastinal nodal staging of lung cancer and for the evaluation of mediastinal adenopathy of unknown cause. However, the technique is not commonly used in Australia.

METHODS: A retrospective review of all patients who had mediastinal EUS FNA was undertaken. Of a total of 787 patients who had undergone endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) studies from November 1999 to March 2004, 27 patients were identified to have had mediastinal EUS FNA. Details were recorded including study indication, history of malignancy, source of referral, prior attempts for tissue diagnosis, EUS and EUS FNA findings, complications, surgical pathology if available and clinical outcome after diagnosis.

RESULTS: Mediastinal EUS FNA was performed on an outpatient basis and no complications were recorded. Diagnostic material was obtained from all patients with a mean number of three passes. Nodal stations sampled included left paratracheal, subcarinal, aortopulmonary window and inferior mediastinum. Indications for the studies included mediastinal adenopathy of uncertain cause (17), lung cancer staging (7) and gastrointestinal cancer staging (3). EUS FNA confirmed malignancy in 16/27 patients, sarcoidosis in three patients, tuberculosis in one patient and seven patients were deemed to have reactive adenopathy. Primary cytopathological diagnosis of malignancy was determined by EUS FNA in nine patients.

CONCLUSIONS: EUS FNA is a safe, efficient and effective modality for mediastinal staging of lung cancer and for the diagnosis of mediastinal adenopathy of uncertain origin. EUS FNA has the potential to significantly impact on patient management, avoiding more invasive procedures as well as unnecessary operations.

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