Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) of mediastinal lymphadenopathy has been shown to be a valuable diagnostic tool in high-volume EUS centers (≥50 mediastinal EUS-FNA/endoscopist/year). Our goal was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of EUS-FNA and its impact on clinical management and costs in low-volume EUS centers (<50 mediastinal EUS-FNA/endoscopist/year).
Consecutive patients referred to two Dutch endoscopy centers in the period 2002–2008 for EUS-FNA of mediastinal lymphadenopathy were reviewed. The gold standard for a cytological diagnosis was histological confirmation or clinical follow-up of more than 6 months with repeat imaging. The impact of EUS-FNA on clinical management was subdivided into a positive impact by providing (1) adequate cytology that influenced the decision to perform surgery or (2) a diagnosis of a benign inflammatory disorder, and a negative impact which was subdivided into (1) false-negative or inconclusive cytology or (2) an adequate cytological diagnosis that did not influence patient management. Costs of an alternative diagnostic work-up without EUS-FNA, as established by an expert panel, were compared to costs of the actual work-up.
In total, 213 patients (71% male, median age = 61 years, range = 23–88 years) underwent EUS-FNA. Sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values were 89%, 100%, 80%, and 100%, respectively. EUS-FNA had a positive impact on clinical management in 84% of cases by either influencing the decision to perform surgery (49%) or excluding malignant lymphadenopathy (35%), and a negative impact in 7% of cases because of inadequate (3%) or false-negative (4%) cytology. In 9% of cases, EUS-FNA was performed without an established indication. Two nonfatal perforations occurred (0.9%). Total cost reduction was €100,593, with a mean cost reduction of €472 (SD = €607) per patient.
Mediastinal EUS-FNA can be performed in low-volume EUS centers without compromising diagnostic accuracy. Moreover, EUS-FNA plays an important role in the management of patients with mediastinal lymphadenopathy and reduces total diagnostic costs.