Therapeutic Direction Versus Adverse Outcomes in Children Undergoing Lung Biopsy.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jss.2018.10.025


BACKGROUND: Lung biopsy is part of the diagnostic workup for multiple diseases. Although the morbidity of the procedure has decreased with the use of thoracoscopy, lung biopsy still holds substantial risk for patients. Therefore, we evaluated the likelihood of lung biopsies impacting treatment compared to complications.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a single-institution, retrospective chart review of patients less than aged 18 y undergoing lung biopsy from 2010 to 2016. Details of demographics, hospital course, adverse events, complications, pathology, and follow-up were recorded. All values are reported as medians with interquartile range.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients met inclusion criteria. Median age was 7 y old (interquartile range 1.4, 15). Eighty-seven percent (33) of biopsies were performed thoracoscopically, with a 3% conversion rate. Adverse events occurred in 25% (9) of cases with the majority involving prolonged respiratory failure (n = 7). Complications occurred in 16% (6) of cases including pneumothorax (13%, n = 5) and cardiac arrest (3%, n = 1). A third of these complications (n = 2) required reoperation, and both were decompressions of tension pneumothoraces. Pathology established a diagnosis in 62% (n = 23) of cases, yet treatment was changed in only 43% of cases. No preoperative variables were associated with the pathology establishing a diagnosis or changing treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Lung biopsy for questionable pulmonary disease changed treatment in less than half of cases, with significant perioperative morbidity. Careful consideration should therefore be given to who would benefit most from lung biopsy.

Journal Title

The Journal of surgical research



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MeSH Keywords

Biopsy; Lung Diseases/diagnosis; Thoracoscopy; Infant; Child, Preschool; Child; Adolescent


Biopsy; Lung; Pediatric; Thoracoscopic

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