Introduction Endobronchial Ultrasound(EBUS) is a minimally invasive procedure that is being increasingly utilised in the diagnosis and management of mediastinal pathologies as an alternative to surgical mediastinoscopy. This study aimed to determine the extent to which EBUS is changing the numbers of and indications for surgical mediastinoscopy at Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, a tertiary centre for EBUS and surgical mediastinoscopy.
Methods Patient records were retrospectively reviewed for two twelve-month periods, the first immediately preceding the introduction of EBUS (Phase 1), and the second commencing after a period of 15 months had elapsed (Phase 2). The numbers and indications of invasive mediastinal sampling procedures performed during each phase were determined and compared, as was the frequency of lymph node stations sampled.
Results 596 patients were included; the number of patients undergoing mediastinoscopy fell from 158 in Phase 1 to 106 in Phase 2; 332 patients underwent EBUS in Phase 2. There was significant reduction in mediastinoscopies performed to stage lung cancer (64%reduction; p<0.001), confirm suspected lung cancer (40% reduction; p<0.001); and diagnose granulomatous disease (60% reduction; p<0.001); however, there was a 47% increase (p<0.001) in mediastinoscopies performed to diagnose mediastinal lymphadenopathy unrelated to lung cancer. In Phase 2, EBUS accounted for 81% of lung cancer staging procedures, 85% of procedures confirming suspected lung cancer, and 84% confirming granulomatous disease. Nodal stations 4R/L and 7 were most frequently sampled by both procedures, while access to stations 10R/L and 11R/L by EBUS accounted for 20% of all stations sampled in Phase 2.
Conclusion The introduction of EBUS has reduced the use of surgical mediastinoscopy, but also increased the total number of mediastinal sampling procedures performed. Mediastinoscopy use has significantly fallen for all indications that are amenable to EBUS-directed sampling.