Effect of routine clopidogrel use on bleeding complications after endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration

Tracey N. Webb, Eric Flenaugh, Ralitza Martin, Christopher Parks, Rabih I. Bechara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Endobronchial ultrasonography has proven to be highly sensitive and specific in the diagnoses of patients with mediastinal and hilar adenopathy. Many of these patients are on a combination of clopidogrel (a compound that inhibits adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation) and aspirin due to neurological and/or cardiac-related comorbidities, and stopping anticoagulation may place these patients at high risk for potential complications. Our group has previously showed that thoracentesis with an 8-french catheter is safe in patients receiving clopidogrel and aspirin with low risk of complications. In this manuscript, we report the outcomes of the largest prospective multicenter series of patients undergoing endobronchial ultrasoundguided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) while receiving clopidogrel. Methods: Patients presenting to our institutions with mediastinal/hilar adenopathy, requiring EBUS-TBNA, and actively taking clopidogrel and aspirin were included in the study. If the medication could be held for 5 to 7 days before the procedure, the patient was excluded. EBUS-TBNA was performed by an interventional pulmonology faculty on a total of 42 patients. All patients received total intravenous anesthesia, and a total of 92 nodes were sampled. First, 3 passes were performed with a 22-G needle. If no complications were encountered, we followed with additional 3 passes with a 21 G. Rapid onsite evaluation was performed in all patients. Bleeding at the puncture site was considered significant if it required cold saline, topical sympathomimetic, or balloon tamponade for hemostasis. Bleeding was considered nonsignificant if no interventions were required to achieve hemostasis. Results: We were able to perform all procedures successfully using both the 21 and 22-G needles. One patient required 30mL cold saline installation to accomplish hemostasis with the 21 and 22-G needles. Our yield was comparable with the current literature. No statistically significant complications occurred during the procedure. All patients were contacted within 24 hours, and none reported bloody sputum. Conclusion: We suggest that EBUS-TBNA, using 22 and 21-G needles, is safe with high yields in patients with mediastinal/hilar adenopathy, actively taking clopidogrel and aspirin, and are at high risk for thrombotic complications if the medication is discontinued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-14
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • EBUS-guided transbronchial needle aspiration
  • aspirin
  • clopidogrel
  • endobronchial ultrasonography
  • hilar adenopathy
  • mediastinal adenopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of routine clopidogrel use on bleeding complications after endobronchial ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this