Study objectives: To determine the extent to which on-site cytopathology assessment improves diagnostic yield when sampling lung nodules or masses and/or hilar or mediastinal lymphadenopathy by fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB).
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Two teaching hospitals in Baltimore, MD.
Patients: Consecutive adult patients (>/= 18 years) undergoing FOB for evaluation of lung nodules or masses and/or hilar or mediastinal lymphadenopathy.
Intervention: Prospective collection of data on patient factors and details of the procedure on standardized report forms.
Measurements and results: The primary outcome measure was a new diagnosis obtained by FOB. On-site assessment was used in 81 of 204 cases (40%), and overall diagnostic yield was 62%. Yield was greater when on-site cytopathology assessment was used, in unadjusted analysis (81% vs 50%, p < 0.001) and in a multivariate model (odds ratio, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.1 to 10.0). Other significant predictors of a new diagnosis included older patient age, higher dose of narcotic used during FOB, and shorter procedure time.
Conclusions: We conclude that diagnostic yield was greater when on-site cytopathology was used to assist FOB evaluation of intrathoracic adenopathy and/or lung nodules or masses. Increasing the use of on-site cytopathology assessment may improve the quality of FOB services.