Is bronchodilator the correct treatment for COPD subjects before EBUS?
Endobronchial ultrasound transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) is a reliable and commonly established technique, enabling real-time guidance of transbronchial needle aspiration of mediastinal and hilar structures and parabronchial lung masses. As EBUS-TBNA became more available and adopted by clinicians, questions emerged about the optimal performance of the procedure. Although EBUS is considered safe, there are few complications that could occur during the test, correlated with both the procedure itself and the patient’s characteristics. Moreover, this technique is often addressed to patients with overlapping airways diseases, which might have higher risk of complications during the procedure. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients could experience EBUS-TBNA with a relative high frequency due to their risk of developing lung cancer. The irreversible bronchial constriction characteristic of the disease raises some questions on premedication before bronchoscopic procedures. It is mandatory to optimize every aspect of the procedure in order to minimize the risk of complications, especially for fragile patients. Whether the use of inhaled bronchodilators before the procedure could improve the outcome of the procedure in COPD patients is reviewed in this article. No clear indication emerged from the literature suggesting the need of more studies in order to clarify this point.