CT-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy in the diagnosis of mediastinal tuberculosis

Chest. 1994 Nov;106(5):1329-32. doi: 10.1378/chest.106.5.1329.


Twenty-two patients with mediastinal tuberculosis were reviewed. The most common symptoms were chest pain, cough, fever, and weight loss. Results of the physical examination were unremarkable. The chest radiographs of all 22 patients showed abnormal mediastinum with no evidence of extramediastinal disease. Most (62%) had right-sided paratracheal lymphadenopathy. Mantoux skin test was positive (> 15 mm) in all patients, whereas sputum smears and cultures for acid-fast bacilli were negative. Computed tomographic (CT) guided fine needle aspiration biopsies (FNAB) were performed in 12 patients using 22- to 25-gauge needles. Ten patients had fiberoptic bronchoscopic (FOB) examination with brushings and biopsies. Mediastinoscopy (n = 8) or thoracotomy (n = 6) was performed in patients where either FNAB or FOB was not diagnostic or where lymphoma was suspected clinically. The rates of true-positive diagnoses were 20%, 66%, 75%, and 100% for FOB, FNAB, mediastinoscopy, and thoracotomy, respectively. The rate of false-negative for FNAB was 34%. Only one patient developed nonsignificant pneumothorax after FNAB. These findings suggest that CT-guided FNAB is a useful and safe procedure and should be considered in the initial evaluation of patients suspected of having mediastinal tuberculosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy, Needle / instrumentation
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mediastinum / diagnostic imaging
  • Mediastinum / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Needles
  • Radiography, Interventional*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / pathology*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / pathology


  • Antitubercular Agents