The diagnostic value of histology and cytology samples during endobronchial ultrasound with a guide sheath

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Endobronchial ultrasound with a guide sheath has been a widely used diagnostic procedure for peripheral pulmonary lesions. After sequential sampling with the usual devices, small portions of the collected specimen remain in the guide sheath and these can potentially contribute to diagnosis. We assessed the diagnostic value of each histological and cytological sample, especially the guide sheath flush, for pulmonary malignancies.


The medical records of patients who were diagnosed to have peripheral lung cancer by endobronchial ultrasound with a guide sheath in our hospital between January 2014 and May 2014 were reviewed. Separate samples from forceps biopsy, bronchial brushing, device wash, guide sheath flush and bronchial lavage were compared and analyzed.


A total of 106 consecutive patients (54 men, 52 women, median age 69.0 years) were included. The median long axis size of the lesions was 26.0 mm. A definitive diagnosis was made in 90.6% of forceps biopsy samples and in 85.8% of all cytology samples combined. Individual yields were 61.3% from brushing, 77.4% from device wash, 72.6% from guide sheath flush and 32.1% from bronchial lavage. The diagnosis yield from forceps biopsy was significantly higher than each cytological sampling method (P < 0.05). Among the cytological sampling methods, yield from bronchial lavage was significantly the lowest (P < 0.001).


Forceps biopsy is an important sampling method during endobronchial ultrasound with a guide sheath for peripheral pulmonary lesions. In the collection of diagnostic liquid samples, guide sheath flush is more advantageous than bronchial lavage and provides specimen that may be adequate for molecular testing.

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