The staging of the central-chest lymph nodes is a major step in the management of lung-cancer patients. For this purpose, the physician uses a device that integrates videobronchoscopy and an endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) probe. To biopsy a lymph node, the physician first uses videobronchoscopy to navigate through the airways and then invokes EBUS to localize and biopsy the node. Unfortunately, this process proves difficult for many physicians, with the choice of biopsy site found by trial and error. We present a complete image-guided EBUS bronchoscopy system tailored to lymph-node staging. The system accepts a patient's 3D chest CT scan, an optional PET scan, and the EBUS bronchoscope's video sources as inputs. System workflow follows two phases: (1) procedure planning and (2) image-guided EBUS bronchoscopy. Procedure planning derives airway guidance routes that facilitate optimal EBUS scanning and nodal biopsy. During the live procedure, the system's graphical display suggests a series of device maneuvers to perform and provides multimodal visual cues for locating suitable biopsy sites. To this end, the system exploits data fusion to drive a multimodal virtual bronchoscope and other visualization tools that lead the physician through the process of device navigation and localization. A retrospective lung-cancer patient study and follow-on prospective patient study, performed within the standard clinical workflow, demonstrate the system's feasibility and functionality. For the prospective study, 60/60 selected lymph nodes (100%) were correctly localized using the system, and 30/33 biopsied nodes (91%) gave adequate tissue samples. Also, the mean procedure time including all user interactions was 6 min 43 s All of these measures improve upon benchmarks reported for other state-of-the-art systems and current practice. Overall, the system enabled safe, efficient EBUS-based localization and biopsy of lymph nodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100665
JournalInformatics in Medicine Unlocked
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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