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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 1997 Jan;11(1):22-4, 25-6.

Efficacy and safety of videothoracoscopic lung biopsy in the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease.

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Service de Chirurgie Abdominale et Thoracique, Hôpital Pasteur, Nice, France.



The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of videothoracoscopic lung biopsy (VTLB) in the diagnosis of infiltrative lung disease (ILD) and compare the results of VTLB with the results previously obtained in patients with open lung biopsy at the same institution.


Forty-one patients undergoing VTLB between May 1991 and December 1994 were retrospectively studied and compared with 25 patients who have undergone OLB during the period from January 1987 to April 1991. The two groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, and severity of lung disease.


Three of 41 patients (7%) who underwent VTLB with minithoracotomy. There was no significant difference between the group of VTLB (38 patients) and the group OLB (25 patients) with regard to, the number of biopsies (VTLB 1.8 +/- 0.4 versus OLB 2 +/- 0.6), or diagnostic yield (VTLB 37/38 versus OLB 25/25). In contrast, patients who underwent VTLB demonstrated a significant reduction of the operative time (VTLB 45.3 +/- 12.2 min), length of chest tube drainage (3.55 +/- 1.2 days), hospital stay (5.5 +/- 1.3 days), and analgesia (buprenorphine 0.85 +/- 0.44 mg; paracetamol 5.9 +/- 2.5 g) compared to patients who underwent OLB (55.6 +/- 11.2 min, 5.2 +/- 1.5 days; 7.1 +/- 2.3 days; buprenorphine 1.17 +/- 0.5 mg, paracetamol 8.9 +/- 2.3 g). Morbidity and mortality were similar in the two groups (morbidity VTLB 10.5%, OLB 12%; mortality VTLB 5.2%, OLB 8%). Regardless of the biopsy technique, the most serious complications and deaths occurred with the same frequency in those patients with a severe underlying disease.


VTLB is a valid alternative to OLB in most cases. Along with a comparable efficacy, VTLB has several advantages that should make it the method of choice for patients with only minimally impaired respiratory function. In contrast, the role and advantages of VTLB compared to OLB in patients with severe lung disease, require further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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