Background and objective: Conventional imaging procedures proved to be insufficient for staging of lung cancer, especially with respect to N-stage, infiltration of mediastinal structures, and early lung cancer. As also the view of the endoscopist is restricted, we developed the new method of endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS) as an adjunct to conventional bronchoscopy. The initial technical problems were solved by development of a balloon catheter for application of miniaturized 20-MHz probes.
Patients and methods: Between January and December, 1999 all patients with an indication for bronchoscopy and additional EBUS were documented prospectively.
Results: In 648 patients we used additional EBUS. Of these, 242 (37%) were female and 406 (63%) were male. The mean age was 49.2 (range 0-83) years. The mean procedure time for the bronchoscopies was 18.9 (range 5.7-38.9) min, and the mean time for EBUS was 6.3 (range 3.1-14.4) min. Side effects were comparatively rare. 34 patients (5%) needed supplementary oxygen during the examination, the others tolerated EBUS without any desaturation.
Conclusion: EBUS is a new technology that can be easily applied and is well tolerated. It improves the results of bronchoscopy in addition to conventional diagnostic procedures. Further developments will be made in future to improve the application of ultrasound in chest medicine.
Copyright 2001 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg