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Eur Respir J. 2007 Jun;29(6):1187-92. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Electromagnetic navigation diagnostic bronchoscopy for small peripheral lung lesions.

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Clinic of Respiratory Disease, Department of Anatomopathology, Albert Calmette Hospital, Centre Hospitalier RĂ©gional University of Lille, 59037 Lille, France.


The present study prospectively evaluated the diagnostic yield and safety of electromagnetic navigation-guided bronchoscopy biopsy, for small peripheral lung lesions in patients where standard techniques were nondiagnostic. The study was conducted in a tertiary medical centre on 40 consecutive patients considered unsuitable for straightforward surgery or computed tomography (CT)-guided transthoracic needle aspiration biopsy, due to comorbidities. The lung lesion diameter was mean+/-sem 23.5+/-1.5 mm and the depth from the visceral-costal pleura was 14.9+/-2 mm. Navigation was facilitated by an electromagnetic tracking system which could detect a position sensor incorporated into a flexible catheter advanced through a bronchoscope. Information obtained during bronchoscopy was superimposed on previously acquired CT data. Divergence between CT data and data obtained during bronchoscopy was calculated by the system's software as a measure of navigational accuracy. All but one of the target lesions was reached and the overall diagnostic yield was 62.5% (25-40). Diagnostic yield was significantly affected by CT-to-body divergence; yield was 77.2% when estimated divergence was <or=4 mm. Three pneumothoraces occurred and chest drainage was required in one case. Electromagnetic navigation-guided bronchoscopy has the potential to improve the diagnostic yield of transbronchial biopsies without additional fluoroscopic guidance, and may be useful in the early diagnosis of lung cancer, particularly in nonoperable patients.

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