Introduction: Performing immediate assessment (IA) has become the standard of care for endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (EBUS-FNA) specimens. Despite the benefits of aiding interventional pulmonologists to achieve higher adequacy rates and fewer unnecessary passes, the time required by attending cytopathologists to be present for on-site assessments is significant and affects other clinical responsibilities. Telepathology, as implemented here, consists of a cytotechnologist-driven or trainee-driven microscope attached to a Nikon DS-Fi1 Camera and DS-L2 controller that displays dynamic microscopic images in real time on the attending pathologist's office computer. Materials and methods: Preliminary assessment results, final diagnoses, and corresponding surgical pathology diagnoses, when available, were compared between consecutive EBUS-FNA specimens acquired before and after implementation of telepathology-assisted IA. Cases were divided into 3 categories: satisfactory for evaluation, indeterminate for evaluation, and unsatisfactory for evaluation. Results: During the first half of 2012, immediate assessments for adequacy were performed in person by attending pathologists for all cases in the EBUS-FNA suite. There were 209 adequacy assessments performed without the use of telepathology and 289 with telepathology. There were no differences in the relative distribution of satisfactory, indeterminate, and unsatisfactory for evaluation cases, the percentages of diagnostic samples relative to the adequacy category or in the histologic concordance between pretelepathology and post-telepathology cases. Conclusions: Telepathology-assisted IA of EBUS-FNA allowed for the same diagnostic accuracy as traditional on-site IA and is saves time for pathologists.
- Endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration
- Immediate assessment
- On-site adequacy assessment
- Pathologist efficiency