Improved Diagnostic Yield and Specimen Quality With Endobronchial Ultrasound-Guided Forceps Biopsies: A Retrospective Analysis

Amrik S. Ray, Changyi Li, Terrence E. Murphy, Guoping Cai, Katy L.B. Araujo, Kyle Bramley, Erin M. DeBiasi, Margaret A. Pisani, Isabel Oliva Cortopassi, Jonathan T. Puchalski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) has a high diagnostic yield when evaluating mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy (LAD). Having previously demonstrated the safety of EBUS-guided cautery-assisted transbronchial nodal forceps biopsy (ca-TBFB), we report disease-specific improvements in diagnostic yield and tissue acquisition when supplementing the EBUS-TBNA–based standard of care (SOC) with ca-TBFB. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 213 patients who sequentially underwent SOC and ca-TBFB during the same procedure. We determined 3 clinical scenarios of interest based on preprocedural imaging: isolated mediastinal/hilar LAD, LAD associated with a nodule or mass suspicious for malignancy, and LAD associated with parenchymal findings suggestive of sarcoidosis. Using validated methods, we assessed diagnostic yield on a per-patient basis and specimen quality on a per-node basis on the 136 patients meeting diagnostic criteria. Results: Administration of disease-specific SOC with ca-TBFB yielded gains that varied by diagnosis. Diagnostic yields of SOC and its supplementation with ca-TBFB were 91.8% and 93.4% (P =.50) of the 61 patients diagnosed with solid-organ malignancy, 62.7% and 94.9% (P <.001) of the 59 patients diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and 62.5% and 93.8% (P =.042) of the 16 patients diagnosed with lymphoma, the. For each disease process, specimens obtained with ca-TBFB exhibited statistically higher quality. Conclusions: We suggest that relative to SOC, ca-TBFB improves diagnostic yield for sarcoidosis and lymphoma while providing uniformly better tissue quality and cellularity. We propose a protocol for use of this innovative technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-901
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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