BACKGROUND: The number of solitary pulmonary nodules to be evaluated is expected to increase and therefore we need to improve diagnostic and therapeutic tools to approach these nodules. To prevent patients from futile invasive procedures and receiving treatment without histological confirmation of cancer, we evaluated the value of virtual bronchoscopy navigation to obtain a diagnosis of the solitary pulmonary nodule in a real-world clinical setting.

METHODS: In the NAVIGATOR single center, prospective, observational cohort study patients underwent a virtual bronchoscopy navigation procedure with or without guide sheet tunnelling to assess a solitary pulmonary nodule. Nodules were considered not accessible if a diagnosis could not be obtained by either by CT-guided transthoracic biopsy or conventional bronchoscopy.

RESULTS: Between February 2021 and January 2022 35 patients underwent the virtual bronchoscopy navigation procedure. The overall diagnostic yield was 77% and was dependent on size of the nodule and chosen path, with highest yield in lesions with an airway path. Adverse events were few and manageable.

CONCLUSION: Virtual bronchoscopy navigation with or without sheet tunnelling is a new technique with a good diagnostic yield, also in patients in whom previously performed procedures failed to establish a diagnosis and/or alternative procedures are considered not feasible based on expected yield and/or safety. Preventing futile or more invasive procedures like surgery or transthoracic punctures with a higher complication rate is beneficial for patients, and allowed treatment adaptation in two-third of the analyzed patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalLung Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2023


  • Humans
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule/diagnostic imaging
  • Bronchoscopy/methods
  • Lung Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules/diagnostic imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'The additional diagnostic value of virtual bronchoscopy navigation in patients with pulmonary nodules: The NAVIGATOR study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this