Objective: To describe our experience with ureteral access sheaths in the diagnosis and treatment of upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Methods: We retrospectively identified a patient cohort who underwent ureteroscopy for suspicion of upper tract urothelial carcinoma and identified those with placement of a ureteral access sheath. Records were reviewed for demographic information, comorbidity data, operative complications, and pathology results. The histologic grade of ureteroscopic biopsies and nephroureterectomy specimens were evaluated for concordance. Results: A total of 125 patients underwent 235 procedures for known or suspected upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Access sheaths were used in patients in whom significant urothelial lesions were noted in the proximal upper urinary tract. A total of 64 patients underwent 85 sheath-inclusive procedures. Sheath deployment was successful in 83 (97.6%) of the 85 procedures. Biopsies yielded specimen adequate for histopathologic diagnosis in 75 (90.4%) of 83 cases. No ureteral access sheath-related complications were noted. Of the 125 patients, 34 underwent removal of 35 renal units. The concordance of tumor grade between biopsy and nephroureterectomy specimens was 88.6% (P =.0002). Conclusion: Ureteral access sheaths are safe for use in the diagnosis and treatment of upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Sheath placement facilitated the acquisition of multiple biopsy specimens adequate for histopathologic evaluation. Our technique precluded the need for repeat ureteroscopy to establish a diagnosis. Biopsies obtained through an access sheath were highly predictive of tumor grade in nephroureterectomy specimens.
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