Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36

Feasibility of telecytopathology for rapid preliminary diagnosis of ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration of axillary lymph nodes in a remote breast care center


1 Department of Pathology, State University of New York, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, New York, USA
2 Department of Radiology, State University of New York, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, New York, USA

Correspondence Address:
Kamal K Khurana
Department of Pathology, State University of New York, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, New York
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.101803

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Background: In the recent years, the advances in digital methods in pathology have resulted in the use of telecytology in the immediate assessment of fine needle aspiration (FNA) specimens. However, there is a need for organ-based and body site-specific studies on the use of telecytology for the immediate assessment of FNA to evaluate its pitfalls and limitations. We present our experience with the use of telecytology for on-site evaluation of ultrasound-guided FNA (USG-FNA) of axillary lymph nodes in a remote breast care center. Materials and Methods: Real-time images of Diff-Quik-stained cytology smears were obtained with an Olympus digital camera attached to an Olympus CX41 microscope and transmitted via ethernet by a cytotechnologist to a pathologist who rendered preliminary diagnosis while communicating with the on-site cytotechnologist over the Vocera system. The accuracy of the preliminary diagnosis was compared with the final diagnosis, retrospectively. Results: A total of 39 female patients (mean age: 50.5 years) seen at the breast care center underwent USG-FNA of 44 axillary nodes. Preliminary diagnoses of benign, suspicious/malignant, and unsatisfactory were 41, 52, and 7%, respectively. Only one of the 23 cases that were initially interpreted as benign was reclassified as suspicious on final cytologic diagnosis. Seventeen of 18 suspicious/malignant cases on initial cytology corresponded with a malignant diagnosis on final cytology. One suspicious case was reclassified as benign on final cytologic diagnosis. All unsatisfactory cases remained inadequate for final cytologic interpretation. The presence of additional material in the cell block and interpretative error were the main reasons for discrepancy, accounting for the two discrepant cases. Conclusions: This retrospective study demonstrates that the on-site telecytology evaluation of USG-FNA of axillary lymph nodes in patients at a remote breast care center was highly accurate compared with the final cytologic evaluation. It allows pathologists to use their time more efficiently and makes on-site evaluation at a remote site possible.


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