Navigational Bronchoscopy in the Evaluation of the Peripheral Pulmonary Nodule.
Peripheral pulmonary nodules can present diagnostic challenges, especially in high risk patients. Surgical
biopsy is the gold standard for establishing a diagnosis and can often serve as definitive treatment; however, there are
associated risks, morbidities, and costs, which may be too high, especially if the result is a benign lesion. Bronchoscopy
(with or without fluoroscopy) or imaging guided transthoracic needle aspiration can often determine the diagnosis in
appropriate patients; navigational aids can often improve the yield of bronchoscopic biopsy. Navigational bronchoscopy
guides the user to the lesion(s) of interest using computer software integrated with computed tomography images and an
electromagnetic field generated around the patient. While this is a relatively new technology, several studies have
demonstrated the efficacy and safety of the procedure. Navigational bronchoscopy is best used, along with transthoracic
needle aspiration, endobronchial ultrasound (including radial probe), and surgical interventions, as part of a step-wise
diagnostic approach to the evaluation of a peripheral pulmonary nodule.
Keywords: Diagnosis, navigational bronchoscopy, pulmonary nodule.
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