Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) for peripheral lung lesions and to find the most cost effective combination of sampling techniques.
Materials: 264 patients with lesions suspicious of malignancy were recruited in Bergen and Aalesund, Norway from 2005 to 2008.
Methods: The study was a prospective randomised cohort study. EBUS was performed with a 1.7 mm rotating probe. X-ray fluoroscopy was used in both arms. The different sampling techniques were evaluated in a cost-effectiveness analysis.
Results: The detection rate for cancer was 36% in the EBUS group, 44% in the non-EBUS group (ns). Lesions below 3 cm and lesions assumed difficult to reach had significant lower detection rates in the EBUS group. Lesions visualised by EBUS had a higher detection rate for cancer than lesions not visualised by EBUS (62% vs. 19%, p<0.01). The cost of one additional positive sample was 1211 euro when brushing was added to biopsy. It was not cost effective to add washing or TBNA.
Conclusion: EBUS did not increase the detection rate for cancer in peripheral lung lesions when bronchoscopy was performed by bronchoscopists at all levels of expertise. Biopsy and brushing was the most cost effective combination of sampling techniques.
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