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Eur Respir J. 2009 May;33(5):1156-64. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00097908.

Effectiveness and safety of endobronchial ultrasound-transbronchial needle aspiration: a systematic review.

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  • 1Galician Agency for Health Technology Assessment, Department of Health, Galician Regional Authority, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


The aim of the present systematic review was to assess the effectiveness and safety of real time endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) in patients with suspected or known bronchopulmonary carcinoma, as well as in other clinical indications presented by lymphatic adenopathies. A systematic review was carried out in November 2007 and updated in April 2008 using the main databases. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to the papers retrieved. A total of 20 publications were included. Of these, 14 were original studies that investigated the clinical usefulness of the technique in visualising and staging lymph nodes in patients with suspected or established lung cancer. Sensitivity ranged 85-100% and negative predictive value ranged 11-97.4%. Three studies assessed the clinical usefulness of the technique in the diagnosis of sarcoidosis. EBUS-TBNA was diagnostic in 88-93% of patients. One retrospective study evaluated the use of EBUS-TBNA in the diagnosis of lymphoma. None of the studies included in the present review reported important complications. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration is a safe and highly accurate procedure for the examination and staging of mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes in patients with known or suspected lung malignancy. The evidence is promising for sarcoidosis but is not sufficient for lymphoma.

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