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Neck Ultrasound for the Detection of Cervical Lymphadenopathy in Sarcoidosis

An Alternative to Endobronchial Ultrasound

Ahmed, Mohammed MSc*; Daneshvar, Cyrus MD; Breen, David MRCPI

Journal of Bronchology & Interventional Pulmonology: July 2019 - Volume 26 - Issue 3 - p 225–227
doi: 10.1097/LBR.0000000000000588
Research Letter

Background: Sarcoidosis is diagnosed by demonstration of granulomatous inflammation and exclusion of other potential causes. Lung parenchyma and intrathoracic lymph nodes are currently the commonest sites from which tissue is obtained in clinical practice, but historically scalene lymph node biopsy was the procedure of choice for diagnosing sarcoidosis in many institutions.

Aim: We aimed to assess the utility of neck ultrasound (NUS) and cervical lymph node needle sampling among patients with stage 1 and 2 sarcoidosis. In addition, we analyzed the potential predictors of cervical lymphadenopathy in this retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Patients with evidence of intrathoracic lymphadenopathy and suspected sarcoidosis referred for an endobronchial ultrasound underwent NUS. Those with enlarged cervical lymph nodes underwent fine-needle aspiration and core needle biopsy when technically feasible.

Results: A total of 38 patients were included of which 34 (89.5%) underwent endobronchial ultrasound. Sixteen patients had enlarged lymph nodes on ultrasound and 8 (50%) of these underwent needle sampling. Non-necrotizing granulomas were detected in 6 cases (16.8%, 95% confidence interval, 6.1%–31.3%). Cervical lymphadenopathy was significantly associated with the presence of upper paratracheal lymphadenopathy (P=0.018) and the size of mediastinal lymph nodes on computed tomography (P=0.011).

Conclusion: NUS and needle sampling of cervical lymph nodes is a potential modality that can be used for the diagnosis of sarcoidosis in a selected group of patients.

*Interventional Respiratory Unit, Galway University Hospital, Galway, Ireland

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Plymouth University Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK

Disclosure: There is no conflict of interest or other disclosures.

Reprints: Mohammed Ahmed, MSc, Interventional Respiratory Unit, Galway University Hospital, Newcastle Road, Galway H91 YR71, Ireland (e-mail:

Received October 25, 2018

Accepted February 27, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.