Flexible 19-Gauge Endobronchial Ultrasound-Guided Transbronchial Needle Aspiration Needle: First Experience

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Background: Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is a well-established first-line invasive modality for mediastinal lymph node staging in lung cancer patients and in the diagnostic workup of patients with mediastinal adenopathy. With the current 21- and 22-gauge (G) EBUS-TBNA needles, the procedure can be limited by the degree of flexibility in the needle and the size of the lumen in tissue acquisition. Objective: We report our initial experience with a first-generation flexible 19-G EBUS-TBNA (Flex 19G; Olympus Respiratory America, Redmond, WA, USA) needle with regards to efficacy and safety. Methods: The Flex 19G EBUS-TBNA needle was used in 47 selected patients with enlarged hilar and/or mediastinal lymphadenopathy at 3 centers. The standard Olympus EBUS scope with a 2.2-mm working channel was used in all cases. Results: The diagnostic yield of the Flex 19G needle according to clinical cytopathology reports was 89% (42/47). The diagnosis and their respective diagnostic yield with the Flex 19G EBUS-TBNA needle were malignancy 24/27 (89%), sarcoidosis 13/14 (93%), and reactive lymph node hyperplasia 5/6 (83%). The mean short axis of the sampled lymph nodes was 19 ± 9 mm. No complications occurred except for 1 instance of moderate bleeding, which did not require intervention beyond suctioning and subsequently resolved. All 13 patients diagnosed with adenocarcinoma by the 19-G needle had sufficient tissue for genetic testing. Conclusion: EBUS-TBNA using the first-generation Flex 19G needle is feasible and safe with promising diagnostic yield while providing a greater degree of flexion with the Olympus EBUS scope. Additional clinical evaluations are warranted.

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