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Ann Thorac Surg. 2000 Apr;69(4):1016-8; discussion 1018-9.

The lingula is an appropriate site for lung biopsy.

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Department of Surgery, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, USA.



Lung biopsy is commonly performed for diagnosis of diffuse pulmonary disease. The lingula offers technical advantages for biopsy, however the quality of tissue obtained by lingula biopsy has been questioned. We sought to determine whether lingula biopsy was a satisfactory site for biopsy in terms of diagnostic yield, therapeutic interventions, and survival results.


All diagnostic lung biopsies performed for diffuse lung disease at 3 university affiliated hospitals between July 1, 1992 and December 31, 1998 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided into 2 groups, depending upon site of biopsy: patients with lingula biopsy only and those with biopsies from other sites.


There were 75 patients; 20 underwent biopsy of the lingula alone, 48 had biopsy of other sites with or without biopsy of the lingula, and location of biopsy was unknown in 7 patients. Histologic diagnosis was achieved in all patients. Significant beneficial therapeutic changes were made in 14 lingula patients, and consisted of immunosuppression in 12 cases. Three patients died in the hospital or within 30 days. Fourteen patients survived 1 year. There was no significant difference between patients that had biopsy of the lingula alone and those that had biopsies from other sites in urgency, technique, histologic diagnosis, rate of therapeutic interventions, hospital mortality, or 1 year survival.


Lung biopsy of the lingula compared to other anatomic sites has equivalent diagnostic yield, therapeutic significance, and survival. Given the technical ease of biopsy, when disease is present radiographically it is the preferred site for lung biopsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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