Endosonography and endosonography-guided fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) are now established diagnostic techniques, which are performed electively in endoscopy suites. We report here the bedside use of EUS-FNA in three critically ill patients in an intensive-care unit,with a significant impact on the outcome. A mediastinal abscess after percutaneous dilational tracheotomy was aspirated in one patient, leading to appropriate antibiotic therapy and complete recovery. A paratracheal hematoma compressing the right main bronchus was aspirated in a patient with polytrauma, relieving the pressure effects. The third patient, who had end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy and was being evaluated for cardiac transplantation, was found to have an apical lung lesion suspicions for bronchogenic carcinoma. EUS was performed to exclude mediastinal metastasis and allow simultaneous resection at the time of transplantation. Although a metastasis was excluded by EUS-FNA, the patient died while awaiting surgery. We conclude that bedside EUS-FNA is a feasible procedure, and in experienced hands it can offer an alternative in life-threatening situations.
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