Prospective study of endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration of lymph nodes versus transbronchial lung biopsy of lung tissue for diagnosis of sarcoidosis

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Jun;143(6):1324-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.01.040. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


Objective: Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) has been reported to be an accurate and safe method to confirm a pathologic diagnosis of sarcoidosis. However, only a few retrospective or small prospective studies have been published on EBUS-TBNA versus transbronchial lung biopsy (TBLB), which has been the standard method for making a pathologic diagnosis of sarcoidosis so far. The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic yield of EBUS-TBNA and TBLB through a flexible bronchoscope in patients with stage I and II sarcoidosis.

Methods: A total of 62 patients with suspected stage I and II sarcoidosis were included in this prospective study. EBUS-TBNA was performed (2 lymph nodes, 2 needle passes for each lymph node), followed by TBLB (5 biopsy specimens from multiple lung segments) in the same setting. The final diagnosis of sarcoidosis was based on clinicoradiologic compatibility and pathologic findings.

Results: Of the 62 patients enrolled, 54 were given a final diagnosis of sarcoidosis. The diagnostic yield of EBUS-TBNA and TBLB for sarcoidois by showing noncaseating epithelioid cell granuloma was 94% (stage I, 97%; stage II, 88%) and 37% (stage I, 31%; stage II, 50%), respectively. The difference was statistically significant (P < .001). One case of pneumothorax and 3 cases of moderate bleeding (7%) resulted from TBLB, and 1 case of severe cough (2%) from EBUS-TBNA.

Conclusions: The diagnostic yield of EBUS-TBNA for stage I and II sarcoidosis is higher than for TBLB.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle / adverse effects
  • Biopsy, Needle / instrumentation
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods*
  • Bronchoscopes
  • Bronchoscopy* / adverse effects
  • Bronchoscopy* / instrumentation
  • Endosonography* / adverse effects
  • Endosonography* / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Lung* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung* / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymph Nodes* / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional* / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional* / instrumentation
  • Young Adult