Computed Tomography for Evaluation of Mediastinal Lymph Nodes in Lung Cancer: Correlation with Surgical Staging

Robert H. Breyer, Nolan Karstaedt, Stephen A. Mills, Frank R. Johnston, Robert H. Choplin, Neil T. Wolfman, Allen S. Hudspeth, A. Robert Cordell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Computed tomography (CT) of the chest (late model) was done preoperatively in 56 candidates for resection of lung cancer. Precise borders for each node region were defined by the American Thoracic Society modification of the classification of the American Joint Committee for Cancer Staging and were used to “map” nodes seen on CT and nodes removed surgically. Metastatic involvement of mediastinal nodes was proven by mediastinoscopy in 11 patients; nodes were removed from multiple regions at thoracotomy in 45 patients. The mediastinum was clearly delineated by CT in 46 patients with determinate scans and was judged normal in 32 (CT-negative scans) and abnormal in 14 (CT-positive scans). A node was considered metastatically involved if it measured greater than 1.5 cm in diameter. Positive nodes were found at surgical staging in 3 of 32 patients with CT-negative scans and in all patients with CT-positive scans. Thus, for the 46 patients with determinate scans, sensitivity was 82%, specificity was 100%, and accuracy (true positive and true negative) was 93%. The high accuracy of CT in these patients suggests that mediastinoscopy is not necessary before thoracotomy in the patient with a CT-negative scan, but that for the patient with a CT-positive or CT-indeterminate scan, the indications for mediastinoscopy remain the same.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

Breyer, R. H., Karstaedt, N., Mills, S. A., Johnston, F. R., Choplin, R. H., Wolfman, N. T., Hudspeth, A. S., & Cordell, A. R. (1984). Computed Tomography for Evaluation of Mediastinal Lymph Nodes in Lung Cancer: Correlation with Surgical Staging. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 38(3), 215-220.