Value of cytopathologist review of ultrasound examinations in non-diagnostic/unsatisfactory thyroid FNA

David Poller

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Background - Correlation of cytologic and ultrasound findings is extremely valuable for the cytopathologist in management of thyroid nodules.

Methods - Ultrasound scans (US) of all thyroid FNA taken over a 13 month period and reported by a single cytologist were reviewed at the time of reporting, focusing on aspirates that were non-diagnostic/unsatisfactory, equivalent to Bethesda Class I, UK Royal College of Pathologists Class Thy1 or Thy1c.

Results - FNA cases [68 (40.7%)] were classified as Thy1, equivalent to Bethesda Class I. US of 3 Thy1 cases were not available for review. On cytologist US review 9 cases were classified as pure cystic, 28 as mixed cystic/solid, 12 as predominantly solid/focally cystic and 16 as purely solid. 27 (41.5%) of cases on cytological assessment were Thy1 and showed no evidence of a cyst on US, 17 (26.1%) were Thy1/Thy1c showing features suggestive of a possible cyst and 21 (32.3%) were Thy1c showing definite features of a cyst. Fifteen of 16 (93.7%) of pure solid cases on US were Thy1, equivalent to Bethesda Class I and all 9 (100%) of cases that were pure cystic on US were reported as Thy1c—equivalent to Bethesda Category I—cyst fluid only (P < .001).

Conclusion - Cytopathologist review of thyroid US is extremely useful and can be helpful in triaging patients for further management in cases of solid, mixed cystic and/or solid, and pure cystic thyroid lesions with non-diagnostic/unsatisfactory thyroid FNA.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiagnostic Cytopathology
Early online date26 Sept 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 26 Sept 2017


  • cyst
  • diagnosis
  • fine needle
  • thyroid aspirate
  • ultrasound


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