Narrow band imaging applied to pleuroscopy for the assessment of vascular patterns of the pleura

Respiration. 2009;78(4):432-9. doi: 10.1159/000247335. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Background: Narrow band imaging (NBI), which enhances blood vessels, is a new endoscopic technology for diagnosing malignancies, but it has not been investigated for pleuroscopy.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of NBI applied to pleuroscopy for detecting malignant lesions by assessing vascular patterns of the pleura.

Methods: From May 2006 to September 2008, 45 patients with undiagnosed pleural ef-fusion underwent pleuroscopy using a pleura-videoscope with white light (WL) and NBI under local anesthesia. For this prospective study, 73 biopsy specimens were obtained from sites where images under both WL and NBI were recorded and classified regarding vascular patterns.

Results: Of the 73 lesions, WL showed blood vessels in 32 lesions, and NBI in 52 lesions (WL vs. NBI; p = 0.0014). The accuracy, sensitivity and specificity in the detection of irregular vascular patterns, e.g. blood vessels with irregular caliber or punctate vessels indicating malignant lesions, were 60.3, 76.5 and 55.4% in WL, and 80.8, 85.3 and 76.9% in NBI, respectively, resulting in a significant increase in NBI (p = 0.0106 for accuracy and p = 0.0494 for specificity). For flat lesions, NBI revealed a higher accuracy rate (90.6%) in the detection of irregular vascular patterns indicating malignant lesions.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that NBI applied to pleuroscopy displayed blood vessels significantly better than WL. NBI was useful to detect irregular vascular patterns suggesting malignant lesions, especially for flat lesions. Therefore, NBI was considered useful in the selection of optimal biopsy sites by assessing vascular patterns.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narrow Band Imaging*
  • Pleura / blood supply
  • Pleural Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracoscopy*