Background and study aims: Sarcoidosis is a chronic multisystem granulomatous disease that is often diagnosed after a finding of hilar and mediastinal lymphadenopathy on a chest radiograph. This often requires further evaluation by transbronchial biopsy or other clinical parameters. The present study is a descriptive, retrospective one using endoscopic ultrasound with fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) of mediastinal lymph nodes in seven patients with sarcoidosis.
Patients and methods: Among 108 consecutive patients who underwent EUS-FNA of mediastinal lymph nodes for various clinical indications between July 1994 and October 1997, seven patients were found to have sarcoidosis on EUS-FNA, and the EUS morphology was studied in these patients.
Results: Sarcoidosis was diagnosed in seven patients using endosonographic characteristics and clinical follow-up. EUS with FNA showed cytological evidence of sarcoidosis in six patients. Seven patients were found to have subcarinal lymph nodes, and six patients had abnormally enlarged aortopulmonary (AP) window lymph nodes. The nodes in all patients had three endosonographic criteria for malignancy. The long axis of the largest mediastinal lymph nodes measured 3.44+/-1.42 cm (range 1.8-6.0 cm). The short axis measured 2.50+/-0.69 (range 1.0-4.0 cm). The average number of nodes seen in each patient was 2.80+/-0.75 (range 2-4). The nodes in all seven patients were discrete and well demarcated. A central hyperechoic strand was evident in these nodes in four patients (57%). There were no complications.
Conclusions: Mediastinal lymph nodes in patients with sarcoidosis appear to have specific echo characteristics, and EUS-FNA can be used for confirmatory tissue diagnosis.