Efficacy of transthoracic needle aspiration in community-acquired pneumonia

Intern Med. 2001 Sep;40(9):873-7. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.40.873.


Objective: To evaluate the indications, efficacy, and safety of transthoracic needle aspiration (TNA) in diagnosing community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Methods: TNA procedure was performed using an ultrathin needle with ultrasonography and/or computed tomography. The aspirate samples were Gram-stained and sent for cultures. The results were compared with those from conventional microbiological studies.

Patients: Sixty patients with CAP who were admitted to the hospital and were studied prospectively between July 1994 and June 1999 were included in the study.

Results: TNA culture was positive in 30 cases (50.0%). Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most frequently isolated pathogen, followed by the Streptococcus milleri group, and anaerobes. The results of TNA were consistent with those of quantitative sputum cultures in 9 patients and with those of blood cultures in 4. Complications arose in 3 patients who developed small to moderate pneumothorax.

Conclusions: TNA is a safe procedure with a good diagnostic yield. In particular, anaerobes or microaerophils such as the S. milleri group were highly detectable by TNA. The results obtained by TNA were highly consistent with those obtained by the gold standard methods. Combined with conventional methods, TNA is considered highly useful for determining the etiology of CAP.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Biopsy, Needle* / adverse effects
  • Biopsy, Needle* / methods
  • Community-Acquired Infections / diagnosis
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Respiratory System
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / microbiology*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Prospective Studies