Does video-assisted mediastinoscopy have a better lymph node yield and safety profile than conventional mediastinoscopy?

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The London Chest Hospital, London, UK.
Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.16). 12/2011; 14(3):316-9. DOI: 10.1093/icvts/ivr052
Source: PubMed


A best evidence topic was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was whether video-assisted mediastinoscopy (VAM) has a better lymph node yield and safety profile than the conventional mediastinoscopy (CM). A total of 194 papers were found, using the reported searches, of which five represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, journal, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes and results of these papers are tabulated. Two studies to date have directly compared CM and VAM with respect to lymph node yield, calculated diagnostics performance and complication rate. In both of these, lymph node yield is shown to be higher using VAM with better sensitivity, negative predictive value and accuracy rates. The favourable figures of lymph node sampling are found to be statistically significant in the single study providing such analysis. Complication rates using VAM are low, however, in the one instance where it is reported as higher than CM, the extensive lymph node dissection used in this technique may be a reasonable explanation for this finding. All studies described here exemplify VAM as a safe and useful tool in mediastinal staging, lymph node dissection and tissue diagnosis of mediastinal diseases given its superior visualization of surrounding structures and advantage of bimanual dissection. The future scope for diagnostic and therapeutic indications of cervical mediastinscopy is anticipated with recent advances and new techniques, such as video-assisted mediastinoscopic lymphadenectomy and virtual mediastinscopy.

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