The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration for mediastinal masses.
This procedure can be used for patients who are being tested for various diseases, including lung cancer. Under local or general anaesthesia, a thin flexible telescope (bronchoscope) is inserted via the patient's mouth into the lungs. Images of the region between the two lungs (the mediastinum) are obtained using an ultrasound probe attached to the bronchoscope. The operator uses these images as a guide when taking samples of cells from masses suspected of disease. The aim of the procedure is to help reach a diagnosis and establish whether the disease has spread.
This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, and specifically any special arrangements relating to the introduction of new interventional procedures. The guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties. Providers should ensure that governance structures are in place to review, authorise and monitor the introduction of new devices and procedures.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.