ABSTRACT: Staging for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) requires accurate assessment of the mediastinal lymph nodes which determines treatment and outcome. As radiological staging is limited by its specificity and sensitivity, it is necessary to sample the mediastinal nodes. Traditionally, mediastinoscopy has been used for evaluation of the mediastinum especially when radical treatment is contemplated, although conventional transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) has also been used in other situations for staging and diagnostic purposes. Endobronchial ultrasound guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) offers a minimally invasive alternative to mediastinoscopy with additional access to the hilar nodes, a better safety profile, and it removes the costs and hazards of theatre time and general anaesthesia with comparable sensitivity, although the negative predictive value of mediastinoscopy (and sample size) is greater. EBUS-TBNA also obtains larger samples than conventional TBNA, has superior performance and theoretically is safer, allowing real-time sampling under direct vision. It can also have predictive value both in sonographic appearance of the nodes and histological characteristics. EBUS-TBNA is therefore indicated for NSCLC staging, diagnosis of lung cancer when there is no endobronchial lesion, and diagnosis of both benign (especially tuberculosis and sarcoidosis) and malignant mediastinal lesions. The procedure is different than for flexible bronchoscopy, takes longer, and requires more training. EBUS-TBNA is more expensive than conventional TBNA but can save costs by reducing the number of more costly mediastinoscopies. Revenue based tariff systems have been slow to reflect the innovation of techniques such as EBUS-TBNA. In the future, endobronchial ultrasound may have applications in airways disease and pulmonary vascular disease.
Postgraduate medical journal 02/2010; 86(1012):106-15. · 1.38 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Conventional transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) is a cheap, minimally invasive tool for lung cancer staging and diagnosis. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided TBNA (EBUS-TBNA) is more sensitive but is more expensive and less widely available. We describe a prospective analysis of TBNA diagnostic, staging and cost utility in a centre in the UK. Objectives: To illustrate the potential diagnostic, staging and cost utility of a low cost conventional TBNA service.
A prospective analysis of 79 TBNA procedures over a 2-year period was performed looking at performance and cost utility in a 'mixed' cohort with variable pre-test probability of malignancy (year 1) followed by a high probability cohort (year 2).
TBNA avoided mediastinoscopy in 25% of the cases overall (37% in high probability vs. 13% in the 'mixed' cohort, p = 0.03). The overall prevalence of malignancy was 84%, sensitivity 79%, negative predictive value 58% and accuracy 85%. Diagnostic utility varied with pre-test probability and nodal station. TBNA down-staged 8% of lung cancer patients to receive surgery and confirmed the pre-treatment stage (inoperability) in 74%. TBNA led to theoretical cost savings of GBP 560 per patient.
TBNA can achieve a high diagnostic sensitivity for cancer in high probability patients and stage the majority appropriately, thereby avoiding unnecessary mediastinoscopies and reducing costs. It may also down-stage a minority to have surgery. TBNA is cheap, routinely available and learnable. As EBUS-TBNA will take time to develop due to its costs, all respiratory centres should perform TBNA at flexible bronchoscopy in suspected lung cancer with accessible mediastinal adenopathy.
Respiration 01/2010; 79(6):482-9. · 2.26 Impact Factor
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 09/2009; 103(5):355. · 2.33 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: New innovative techniques can improve patient care but may not be appropriately funded. Endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS) offers a minimally invasive mediastinal staging and diagnostic method for suspected lung cancer.
We report the performance and cost analysis of a newly established EBUS service in a prospective real world cohort of patients to assess the impact of Payment by Results (PbR).
Prospective cohort study.
Fifty-four patients between June 2008 and April 2009 underwent EBUS for evaluation of unexplained mediastinal lymphadenopathy on CT. Cost analysis was performed from local Trust financial data and 2008-09 tariffs.
EBUS had an 89% sensitivity, 75% negative predictive value and 92% accuracy for malignancy. EBUS coding was inaccurate in 15.6% of cases. The actual cost of an EBUS is 1252-1433 pounds but is coded as a standard bronchoscopy (561 pounds). EBUS reduces health community costs by 107824 pounds/year, as a result of a Primary Care Trust cost saving of 113968 pounds/year and a Trust cost deficit of 6144 pounds/year. Coding inaccuracies further alter the Primary Care Trust costs.
Medical innovation is fundamental to improved patient care. EBUS can potentially reduce morbidity for lung cancer patients and save health community costs. However, with PbR the service provider delivers this at a loss as the tariffs do not reflect innovation and because of coding inaccuracies. We suggest tariffs for innovative procedures need to reflect the true cost.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 09/2009; 102(12):859-64. · 2.33 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Local anaesthetic video-assisted thoracoscopy (LAVAT) is a safe, reliable and therapeutic procedure used by respiratory physicians in the management of pleural disease, especially pleural malignancy. We describe a prospective analysis of a UK LAVAT service set up in a tertiary respiratory centre to complement an existing large surgical video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) service.
A prospective analysis of 125 LAVAT procedures over a 34-month period was performed looking at a variety of quality control endpoints comparing them to national thoracic surgical VATS standards.
Talc pleurodesis was effective in over 86% of cases and this did not significantly lengthen bed stay (median 4.5 days). Bed stay was also unchanged between the ages of 60-89 years. Over 77% of the 48 patients with proven metastatic pleural lung malignancy or mesothelioma received either surgical decortication or oncological treatment (palliative chemotherapy in 57%). In only 6% were biopsies not possible because of technical factors. LAVAT biopsies had a diagnostic accuracy of 97.4%, sensitivity 95.4%, specificity 100%, positive predictive value 100%, and negative predictive value 94.7%. Our complication rate was 4% and mortality rate 0.8%.
Our LAVAT service meets surgical VATS standards for diagnosis and safety with a good pleurodesis efficacy rate. It complements our surgical VATS service, offering a pleural diagnostic service for patients with non-complex pleural exudates or too frail for VATS. Our data demonstrate there is a demand and potential for respiratory physicians dealing with pleural malignancy to develop LAVAT and enhance their local lung cancer and pleural diagnostic pathway.
Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 04/2009; 66(3):355-8. · 3.14 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Correct service costing is essential but may not always be done accurately.
To assess the accuracy of Healthcare Resource Group (HRG) coding allocation for patients undergoing local anaesthetic video-assisted thoracoscopy (LAVAT) against predicted codes under Payment by Results (PbR).
Single centre retrospective study. Tertiary respiratory centre in Leicestershire.
One hundred twenty-five patients undergoing LAVAT from July 2005 to July 2008.
Predicted and actual revenue per LAVAT episode based on predicted and actual HRG codes allocated.
Among 125 patients undergoing LAVAT, the actual HRG code matched the predicted code in only 39 cases (31.2%), odds ratio (OR) 0.002, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) 0.0001-0.03, P < 0.0001. In 51 cases (40.8%), this resulted in a median (interquartile range) excess of PbR revenue of 574 pounds (574-1366) per episode; a total estimated overspend of 29,274 pounds. In 35 cases (28.0%), this resulted in a median underspend of --1093 pounds (-1285 to -851) per episode; a total estimated underspend of 38,529 pounds, with a total estimated financial error of 67,529 pounds. The net median (interquartile range) difference for PbR-related revenue was 0 pounds (-89 to + 574). Factors associated with coding discrepancy were longer length of stay (OR = 2.52, 95% CIs = 1.09-5.81, P = 0.03) and talc pleurodesis (OR = 2.25, 95% CI = 1.01-4.99, P = 0.06).
HRG coding allocation errors occur frequently. The potential financial implications of this are significant for providers and commissioners. Future strategies are required at multiple levels (NHS Trust, Primary Care Trust and Department of Health) to minimize future discrepancies and financial error.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 02/2009; 102(5):329-33. · 2.33 Impact Factor