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Radiol Med. 2011 Jun;116(4):548-63. doi: 10.1007/s11547-011-0619-9. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

Risk factors for complications of CT-guided lung biopsies.

[Article in English, Italian]

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Department of Radiology, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141, Milan, Italy.



This study assessed the risk factors for pneumothorax and intrapulmonary haemorrhage after computed tomography (CT)-guided lung biopsies.


CT-guided lung biopsies performed between January 2007 and July 2008 were retrospectively evaluated to select the study cohort. Whenever possible, emphysema was quantified by using dedicated software. Features related to the patient, the lesion and the needle and its intrapulmonary path were recorded, along with the pathology findings and operators' experience. The occurrence of pneumothorax and parenchymal haemorrhage was recorded. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed to assess the association between risk factors and complications. P values <0.05 were considered significant.


In 157/222 of the procedures considered, complications were associated with small lesion size and length of the intrapulmonary needle path. Transfissural course and type of needle were associated with pneumothorax using univariate analysis, whereas transfissural course was associated with intrapulmonary haemorrhage using both univariate and multivariate analysis. Emphysema, nodule type, patient position, access site and needle diameter were not significant. Fine-needle aspirates and operator experience were significantly correlated with inadequate biopsy samples.


The size of the lesion and the length of the intrapulmonary trajectory are risk factors for pneumothorax and parenchymal haemorrhage. The transfissural course of the needles is frequently related to pneumothorax and intrapulmonary haemorrhage, and the type of the needle is related to pneumothorax.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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