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Eur Respir J. 2001 Feb;17(2):175-9.

High short-term mortality following lung biopsy for usual interstitial pneumonia.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


Usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) is a specific histological pattern of interstitial pneumonia most often associated with the clinical syndrome of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). There is controversy regarding the use of surgical lung biopsy in the diagnosis of UIP, and the risk of lung biopsy in these patients is largely unknown. This study investigated the 30 day surgical mortality rate in patients undergoing surgical lung biopsy for UIP. Patients undergoing surgical lung biopsy over a 10-yr period from 1986-1995 with the ultimate diagnosis of UIP (with or without underlying connective tissue disease) were identified. Pathology, computed tomography, medical records, and survival were assessed. Ten of sixty patients with usual interstitial pneumonia were found to be dead within 30 days of surgical biopsy. All of these were patients with idiopathic UIP, unassociated with connective tissue disease (clinical condition of IPF). In conclusion, patients with usual interstitial pneumonia of the idiopathic type, who present with atypical features, may be at higher risk for death following surgical biopsy than patients presenting with more typical features or patients with other interstitial illnesses.

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