Mediastinal abscess after endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration: a case report and literature review

J Bronchology Interv Pulmonol. 2013 Oct;20(4):338-41. doi: 10.1097/LBR.0b013e31829ae243.


Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is a minimally invasive technique that allows lung cancer nodal staging and biopsy of parabronchial and paratracheal tissue. Its simplicity, high diagnostic yield, ability to diagnose both benign and malignant conditions, and exceedingly low complication rate has resulted in rapid widespread adoption by surgeons and physicians. EBUS-TBNA-related complications, however, do occur and need to be considered when assessing the risk-benefit profile of performing the procedure, and if the patient represents with unexpected symptoms after the procedure. We describe a 64-year-old woman who presented with a mediastinal abscess 5 days after EBUS-TBNA. This case demonstrates the importance of considering EBUS-TBNA-related complications to guide relevant imaging decisions and antibiotic choices. We review the published literature regarding infective complications of EBUS-TBNA and propose possible pathophysiologies. These complications are likely to increase in frequency as the technique is more widely adopted.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnostic imaging
  • Abscess / drug therapy
  • Abscess / etiology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Bronchoscopy / methods
  • Conscious Sedation
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration / adverse effects*
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Mediastinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Mediastinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Mediastinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Radiography


  • Anti-Infective Agents