What is endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)?

Updated: Apr 24, 2019
  • Author: Narayan Neupane, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) is a technique that uses ultrasound along with bronchoscopy to visualize the airway wall and structures adjacent to it. The clinical application and diagnostic benefit of EBUS have been established in many studies. EBUS has been incorporated into routine practice in many centers because of its high diagnostic value and low risk. It allows real-time guidance of transbronchial needle aspiration (TBNA) of mediastinal and hilar structures and parabronchial lung masses. As use of EBUS and EBUS-TBNA continues to grow, ongoing education in advanced bronchoscopic procedures is necessary to guarantee competency and successful patient outcomes. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Two types of EBUS exist: radial probe EBUS (RP-EBUS) and convex probe EBUS (CP-EBUS). Physicians should have knowledge of mediastinal lymph node stations and sonographic anatomy of the airway wall. The endobronchial ultrasound image visualizes distinct layers of the bronchial wall with mucosa, submucosa, endochondrium, cartilage, perichondrium, connective tissue, and adventitia. The mucosa, endochondrium, perichondrial layer, and adventitia are hyperechoic, while the submucosa, cartilage, and connective tissue appear hypoechoic.

Patients should not eat or drink at least 6 hrs before the procedure, and the patient may need to discontinue blood thinning medications several days before the procedure. 

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