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A study of patients with isolated mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy undergoing EBUS-TBNA
  1. Matthew Evison1,2,
  2. Philip A J Crosbie1,2,
  3. Julie Morris3,
  4. Julie Martin1,
  5. Philip V Barber1 and
  6. Richard Booton1,2
  1. 1North West Lung Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  2. 2The Institute of Inflammation and Repair, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Department of Medical Statistics, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matthew Evison; matthew.evison{at}


Background Isolated mediastinal and/or hilar lymphadenopathy (IMHL) may be caused by benign and malignant disorders or be ‘reactive’. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) has a reported low negative predictive value (NPV) in IMHL, necessitating mediastinoscopy in selected patients. The aim of this study was to examine the NPV of EBUS-TBNA in an IMHL population and determine whether clinical variables differentiate between pathological and reactive IMHL.

Methods Analysis of a prospectively maintained database of consecutive patients with IMHL referred to a single UK centre for EBUS-TBNA.

Results 100 patients with IMHL had EBUS-TBNA during the study (March 2010–February 2013), mean age 58.6±15.7 years, 63% men, 70% white British and mean follow-up 16.8±8.6 months. Pathological cause of IMHL established in 52 patients (sarcoidosis n=20, tuberculosis n=18, carcinoma n=7, lymphoma n=6, benign cyst n=1), 43 from EBUS-TBNA. 48/57 negative EBUS-TBNA samples were true negatives reflecting reactive lymphadenopathy in 48%. The diagnostic accuracy of EBUS-TBNA was 91% and NPV was 84.2% (95% CI 72.6% to 91.5%). Multivariate analysis of clinical covariates showed age (odds ratio (OR) 1.07, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.13; p=0.033), the presence of a relevant comorbidity (OR 9.49, 95% CI 2.20 to 41.04; p=0.003) and maximum lymph node size (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.83; p=0.00004) to differentiate between reactive and pathological IMHL. Stratification of the study population according to comorbidity and maximum lymph node size (<20 mm) identified a low-risk cohort (n=32) where the NPV of EBUS-TBNA was 93.8% (95% CI 79.9% to 98.3%).

Conclusions Reactive lymphadenopathy accounts for a significant proportion of patients with IMHL. In carefully selected patients with IMHL and a negative EBUS-TBNA, surveillance rather than further invasive sampling may be an appropriate strategy.

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung Cancer

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