Background: EBUS-TBNA is an established technique for diagnostically sampling intrathoracic masses and lymph nodes. While the procedure is commonly conducted under general anesthesia (GA), little is known regarding the association between anesthetic management and perioperative respiratory complications. Here, we aim to evaluate this association among patients presenting for EBUS-TBNA. Methods: 586 patients receiving GA for EBUS-TBNA between 2012 and 2018 were retrospectively evaluated. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of perioperative respiratory complications and the secondary endpoint was procedure end to OR exit time (minutes). Respiratory complications were defined as episodes of severe (SpO2 5 minutes) hypoxemia, bronchospasm, and postoperative ventilation that could not be directly attributed to procedural invasiveness.

Results: Among all patients, 79 (13.5%) had respiratory complications. Four patient characteristics were associated with respiratory complications: home oxygen use (OR 2.39; 95% CI 1.26-4.45; P=0.007), pre-existing respiratory disease (OR 2.01; CI 1.21- 3.29; P=0.005), ASA class (P=0.03), and albuterol administration intra-operatively (OR 2.22; CI 1.23-3.92; P=0.007). No anesthetic factors were found to be statistically significant. Procedures with respiratory complications had a longer duration (mean time 88.7 minutes vs. 111.8 minutes; P=0.00009), prolonged time to extubation (mean time 11.9 minutes vs. 14.2 minutes; P=0.039), and stayed in the room longer after extubation (mean time 18.4 minutes vs. 23.1 minutes; P=0.0016). When comparing types of GA, there were no significant differences between volatile anesthetics versus TIVA (12.7% vs. 14.6%, P=0.54).

Conclusions: Pre-existing patient characteristics, as opposed to anesthetic factors, are associated with respiratory complications during EBUS-TBNA.