Cell Block Examination Is Critical for Sarcoidosis Diagnosis by Endobronchial Ultrasound-Guided Mediastinal Lymph Node Fine Needle Aspiration

He Wang, MD, PhD, Akshatha Rao, MBBS, Anthony Lafranco, MD, Anil Vachani, MD, Andrew Haas, MD, PhD, Prabodh Gupta, MBBS, MD, FIAC


Intrathoracic sarcoidosis is often diagnosed by transbronchial lung parenchymal biopsy (TBBx), however, recent studies suggest endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial fine needle aspiration of mediastinal lymph node (EBUS-FNA) is safer with superior diagnostic yield. We report our experience from 2008 to 2010 with combined EBUS-FNA and TBBx in 61 consecutive patients with clinical suspicion of sarcoidosis. One to three mediastinal lymph nodes (LN) in various locations were sampled using 21/22-gauge needles with on-site interpretation. Additional one to two specimens per site were collected in Normosol® for cell block preparations. A definitive diagnosis of sarcoidosis was made in 51 patients (84%) by EBUS-FNA/TBBx studies (46) and clinical information (5); alternative diagnoses were established in 8 patients (13 %); the last 2 patients remained suspicious for sarcoidosis without confirmatory tissue diagnosis. Of the 46 biopsy (EBUS-FNA and/or TBBx) confirmed cases, 37 (80.0%) were diagnosed by EBUS-FNA. Cell blocks prepared from all 37 patients contained diagnostic material, 10 (27.0%) were interpreted as such by on-site evaluations. The diagnostic yield of LNs at different locations varied, being 100, 68, 50 and 20% in R12, subcarinal, R4, and R11, respectively. A total of 36 patients had both EBUS-FNA and TBBx performed during the same visit. Diagnoses were identical in 15 patients (42 %). TBBx independently identified 9 cases of sarcoidosis. This study indicates that cell block preparation is valuable for EBUS-FNA diagnosis of sarcoidosis. EBUS-FNA and TBBx are effective and complimentary tools for intrathoracic sarcoidosis diagnosis.

[N A J Med Sci. 2012;5(4):198-202.]


Sarcoidosis, EBUS-FNA, cell block, mediastinal lymph node

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