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Respiration. 2004 May-Jun;71(3):260-8.

Usefulness of endobronchial ultrasonography for transbronchial lung biopsies of peripheral lung lesions.

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Pulmonary Division of Internal Medicine, National Saishunso Hospital, Kumamoto, Japan.



Peripheral lung lesions are increasing in numbers. Endoscopic diagnosis is essential for the prevention of unnecessary operations. Conventional diagnostic procedures have limitations in availability and results.


Endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS) was investigated as a means to guide transbronchial lung biopsy, to reduce the discomfort during the procedure and to improve diagnostic accuracy.


In 50 cases, we performed transbronchial lung biopsy combined with EBUS and fluoroscopic guidance. The results were compared to 42 controls assessed by fluoroscopy only.


In 38 cases (76%), EBUS could describe the peripheral lesion (33 from inside, including 9 cases with difficulties in fluoroscopic observation, and 5 from an adjacent bronchus, indicating the correct location of the lesion). If successfully placed inside, a change in the patient's position was not required, which helped to reduce patient discomfort. Lung cancer was diagnosed in 24 patients and benign disease in 25 patients; in 1 case diagnosis remained unknown. When the EBUS probe could be introduced inside the lesion, the sensitivity for cancer diagnosis and specificity for cancer exclusion were 100%, respectively (15/15, 18/18). Compared to the controls in whom the biopsy site was determined by fluoroscopy only, the sensitivity tended to be superior by EBUS, although it did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.06). However, specificity and accuracy were statistically significant (both p = 0.02).


When the lesion can be correctly described by EBUS from inside the lesion, EBUS is useful to guide transbronchial lung biopsy, can contribute to a reduction in patient discomfort and improves the accuracy of diagnosis. Additional navigation tools to increase correct positioning of the EBUS probe are desirable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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