The value of endoscopic ultrasound after bronchoscopy to diagnose thoracic sarcoidosis

Eur Respir J. 2010 Jun;35(6):1329-35. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00111509. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


A clinicoradiological presentation of thoracic sarcoidosis requires histopathology in order to establish the diagnosis. Flexible bronchoscopy has a reasonable diagnostic yield and is the procedure of first choice for diagnosis. Endoscopic ultrasound (endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration/endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration) can help in the diagnosis of sarcoidosis. An implementation strategy of endoscopic ultrasound for the diagnosis of sarcoidosis following negative flexible bronchoscopy results was examined prospectively in 15 clinics. A total of 137 patients (92 males; median age 43 yrs) were included, and sarcoidosis was found in 115 (84%). Alternative diagnoses were tuberculosis, lymphangitis carcinomatosa, pneumoconiosis and alveolitis. All patients were sent for flexible bronchoscopy, which was performed in 121 (88%), resulting in a definite diagnosis in 57 (42%). A total of 80 patients were sent for endoscopic ultrasound, which could be performed in 72 (90%), yielding a definite diagnosis in 47 (59%). Endoscopic ultrasound following negative flexible bronchoscopy avoided a surgical procedure in 47 out of 80 patients. The sensitivity of flexible bronchoscopy for sarcoidosis was 45% (95% confidence interval 35-54%), but 62% (50-72%) if biopsy specimens were taken. The sensitivity of endoscopic ultrasound following negative flexible bronchoscopy results was 71% (58-82%). With this strategy, 97 out of 115 (84% (76-90%)) of proven sarcoidosis was diagnosed using endoscopy. This large prospective implementation study (trial number NCT00888212; shows that endoscopic ultrasound is valuable for diagnosing sarcoidosis after negative flexible bronchoscopy results.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Bronchoscopy*
  • Endosonography / methods*
  • Endosonography / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumoconiosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumoconiosis / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / pathology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / pathology

Associated data