Management of pulmonary nodules by community pulmonologists a multicenter observational study

Nichole T. Tanner, Jyoti Aggarwal, Michael K. Gould, Paul Kearney, Gregory Diette, Anil Vachani, Kenneth C. Fang, Gerard A. Silvestri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Pulmonary nodules (PNs) are a common reason for referral to pulmonologists. Th e majority of data for the evaluation and management of PNs is derived from studies performed in academic medical centers. Little is known about the prevalence and diagnosis of PNs, the use of diagnostic testing, or the management of PNs by community pulmonologists. METHODS: Th is multicenter observational record review evaluated 377 patients aged 40 to 89 years referred to 18 geographically diverse community pulmonary practices for intermediate PNs (8-20 mm). Study measures included the prevalence of malignancy, procedure/test use, and nodule pretest probability of malignancy as calculated by two previously validated models. Th e relationship between calculated pretest probability and management decisions was evaluated. RESULTS: Th e prevalence of malignancy was 25% (n = 94). Nearly one-half of the patients (46%, n = 175) had surveillance alone. Biopsy was performed on 125 patients (33.2%). A total of 77 patients (20.4%) underwent surgery, of whom 35% (n = 27) had benign disease. PET scan was used in 141 patients (37%). Th e false-positive rate for PET scan was 39% (95% CI, 27.1%-52.1%). Pretest probability of malignancy calculations showed that 9.5% (n = 36) were at a low risk, 79.6% (n = 300) were at a moderate risk, and 10.8% (n = 41) were at a high risk of malignancy. Th e rate of surgical resection was similar among the three groups (17%, 21%, 17%, respectively; P 5.69). CONCLUSIONS: A substantial fraction of intermediate-sized nodules referred to pulmonologists ultimately prove to be lung cancer. Despite advances in imaging and nonsurgical biopsy techniques, invasive sampling of low-risk nodules and surgical resection of benign nodules remain common, suggesting a lack of adherence to guidelines for the management of PNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1414
Number of pages10
JournalCHEST
Volume148
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Tanner, N. T., Aggarwal, J., Gould, M. K., Kearney, P., Diette, G., Vachani, A., Fang, K. C., & Silvestri, G. A. (2015). Management of pulmonary nodules by community pulmonologists a multicenter observational study. CHEST, 148(6), 1405-1414. https://doi.org/10.1378/chest.15-0630