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Thorax. 2009 May;64(5):436-9. doi: 10.1136/thx.2008.105031. Epub 2009 Feb 12.

Does CT scanning predict the likelihood of a positive transbronchial biopsy in sarcoidosis?

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Auckland City Hospital, Auckland District Health Board, New Zealand.



Transbronchial lung biopsy (TBB) has a variable diagnostic yield in sarcoidosis. It was hypothesised that the extent and pattern of parenchymal disease on CT scanning would predict the likelihood of a positive TBB result.


Patients with sarcoidosis (n = 77) were included if they had undergone a CT scan within 6 weeks of TBB. Ethnicity, symptoms, pulmonary function and site and results of TBB and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) were recorded. CT scans were scored quantitatively for patterns of parenchymal disease (nodular, reticular, consolidation and ground glass) on a lobar basis.


39 patients (50.6%) had a positive TBB. Symptoms, ethnicity, treatment, lung volumes and chest radiographic stage were not predictors of a positive biopsy. Female gender, reduced percentage predicted carbon monoxide transfer factor and a higher percentage of lymphocytes in the BAL fluid were associated with a positive biopsy, as were higher total lung score, reticular pattern and ground-glass opacity. The associations were more significant for the total lobar score and the lobar ground-glass score of the lobe biopsied. On multivariate analysis gender, percentage of lymphocytes in the BAL fluid and total lung score were independent predictors of a positive TBB.


The total extent of parenchymal disease on the CT scan in addition to the pattern and lobar distribution predicts the likelihood of a positive TBB at bronchoscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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