Transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) has been used in diagnosis and staging of bronchogenic carcinoma. However, its true effectiveness seems uncertain and some models of needles are expensive. The aim of this study was to procure new experiences on this method. TBNA was performed in 194 patients with bronchogenic carcinomas. Two models of cheap, re-usable, cytological needles were used. In diagnostic application, TBNA was positive in 34 of 39 (87%) central tumors and in 31 of 45 (69%) peripheral nodules or masses. In 19 patients, TBNA was the only positive sample. In staging application, TBNA was positive in 41 of the 90 cases (46%) in which the spread of the tumor compressed the wall of the airway. When the trachea or bronchus was endoscopically normal at the site of the puncture, TBNA was only positive in 3 of 20 cases (15%). These results suggest that TBNA is effective as a diagnostic tool. However, it appears to be less effective in staging, where the attainment of a good yield with TBNA probably demands a positive computed tomography and the use of a histological needle.
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