Endobronchial Ultrasound guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is usually performed under general anesthesia or deep sedation with drugs such as Propofol that, at least in Italy, can be administered only by an anesthesiologist. Aim of the study was to assess conscious sedation feasibility, safety and tolerability using Meperidine and Midazolam as administered by Pulmonologist and relevant impact on the efficiency of the sampling procedures.
All patients undergoing EBUS-TBNA from February 2013 to July 2014 were examined retrospectively. Efficiency using Meperidine and Midazolam during EBUS-TBNA has been assessed: completion of lymph-nodal sampling, sampling adequacy, diagnostic yield, cough during endoscopic procedure complications and need for procedure repetition with Anesthesiology assistance. Patient satisfaction and cost/effectiveness were also evaluated. One hundred and thirty-four consecutive patients were considered; 97.7% completed the procedure. In 96.9% of cases the prefixed program of lymph-nodal sampling was accomplished. Sampling adequacy was 92,4%. Diagnostic yield was 55%. In 94.7% of cases cough was absent or did not interfere with EBUS-TBNA. The need to repeat the endoscopic procedure occurred in 6 cases but only in 2 the presence of an Anesthesiologist was required. Patient satisfaction was very high, with 95.9% of subjects reporting they would “definitely return”. A 27% cost reduction was calculated. EBUS-TBNA under conscious sedation using Meperidine and Midazolam prescribed and administered by pulmonologist without the Anesthesiologist assistance, revealed to be a safe, well tolerated and cost saving procedure. The efficiency of sampling was good, apart from a relatively low diagnostic yield due to different expertise of operators.