Article Abstract

Uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery in the diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathy of unknown aetiology

Authors: Felice Lo Faso, Luca Bertolaccini, Fabio Davoli, Paolo Bagioni, Silvia Zago, Piergiorgio Solli


Background: Recently endobronchial ultrasound guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) has been widely reported to be useful for patients with lung cancer for lymph node staging, and this tool may be the first line procedure for patients with mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy of unknown aetiology. However, more invasive techniques as mediastinoscopy and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) are useful in well-selected patients, and surgery has a significant role in the evaluation of some areas in the mediastinum. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the clinical utility of VATS with the uni-portal approach in the diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathies of unknown aetiology.
Methods: Retrospective chart review of our VATS database between 2003 and 2013 (10-year experience) was performed. All mediastinal lymphadenopathies of unknown origin were included in the study and were classified and designated according to the International Staging System. Pathological diagnosis was determined in all patients and was classified into two categories: malignant lymphadenopathy and benign lymphadenopathy.
Results: A total of 136 patients with mediastinal lymphadenopathy of unknown origin were identified, and the final diagnosis was available in all patients’ means of VATS surgery with uniportal technique. We no consider mediastinoscopy cases. The final diagnosis was available in all patients and was 114 malignant lymphadenopathies and 22 benign lymphadenopathies. VATS was safe (without complications) and had a sensitivity and a specificity of 100%, and it permits to study all areas of the mediastinum. Additionally, VATS surgery is accurate in the diagnosis of EBUS-TBNA negative lymphadenopathy (26 patients, 19%).
Conclusions: VATS is a safe and reliable minimally invasive approach for a sampling of mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathies, and it should be considered a second line procedure for a sampling of mediastinal tissue. However, in some areas of the mediastinum (anterior, posterior, left 5–6 lymph node stations) and in the cases where EBUS-TBNA fails, this is a winning tool for obtaining a pathological diagnosis of mediastinal disease. We also believe that for these patients are paramount a multidisciplinary approach.