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Transbronchial lymph node forceps biopsy as a novel tool in diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathy: a pilot study.

BACKGROUND: Differential diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathy is an issue of debate. Lymph nodes may be enlarged due to a variety of inflammatory, infectious, or malignant reasons. Therefore, obtaining samples from the affected nodes is crucial for the diagnosis. Usually, these patients are subjected to TBNA (EBUS or conventional) or mediastinoscopy if TBNA is not conclusive. This study evaluated the safety and feasibility of this new technique of transbronchial forceps biopsy for the diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathy.

METHODS: The study included 18 patients with confirmed mediastinal lymphadenopathy who were admitted in Chest Department, Cairo University in the period from December 2019 to December 2020. All patients were subjected to flexible bronchoscopy with conventional transbronchial needle aspiration (C-TBNA) and transbronchial forceps biopsy (LN-TBFB) from the enlarged mediastinal lymph node in the same procedure.

RESULTS: we found the technique of LN-TBFB safe with no serious complications. We were able to reach a diagnosis in 7/7 (100%) cases of sarcoidosis, 6/7 (85.7%) cases of malignant lymph nodes. We had three cases where the histopathology showed hyperactive follicular hyperplasia, and a single case of tuberculous lymphadenitis. C-TBNA was diagnostic in 71.4% of sarcoidosis cases, 42.9% of malignant cases, but failed to diagnose the one patient with tuberculous lymphadenitis.

CONCLUSION: Lymph node transbronchial forceps biopsy (LN-TBFB) was found to be safe and effective in the diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathy. We strongly advocate the use of this minimally invasive technique for diagnosing pathologically enlarged mediastinal lymph nodes, as a last step before mediastinoscopy.

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