Open lung biopsy for diffuse disease in patients with and without previously transplanted solid organs

Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Sep;90(3):965-71; discussion 971-2. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2010.05.053.


Background: Studies on whether surgical lung biopsy (SLB) modifies the treatment of patients with diffuse lung disease are conflicting, and information is limited on whether it alters treatment in solid-organ transplant recipients. Our objective was to determine and compare the rate of treatment change after SLB for diffuse lung disease in patients with and without a history of solid-organ transplantation.

Methods: Patients undergoing SLB for diffuse lung disease between March 2004 and March 2009 were identified. A retrospective review was performed.

Results: Sixty patients had SLB. Thirty-four patients (57%) had solid-organ transplantation. Twenty of 60 patients (33%) had a change in treatment as a result of the findings of the SLB. No significant differences in the treatment change rate were found between the transplant and nontransplant groups (10 of 34 versus 10 of 26; p = 0.46). Transplant patients were more likely to be on mechanical ventilation at the time of SLB (12 of 34 versus 3 of 26; p = 0.03). Mechanical ventilatory support at the time of SLB was associated with increased postoperative complications (odds ratio, 6.20; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.70 to 22.66; p = 0.006) and in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 9.75; 95% CI, 2.54 to 37.38; p = 0.001). Being on mechanical ventilation (hazard ratio, 3.91; 95% CI, 1.40 to 10.93; p = 0.009), a diagnosis of cancer (hazard ratio, 13.20; 95% CI, 2.87 to 60.78; p = 0.001), and a history of solid-organ transplantation (hazard ratio, 5.52; 95% CI, 1.08 to 28.14; p = 0.04) were independent predictors of survival.

Conclusions: Surgical lung biopsy changes treatment in one third of patients, with no significant difference between patients without transplantation and solid-organ transplant recipients. Patients who undergo SLB while on mechanical ventilation have a significantly increased risk of postoperative complications and death.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases / pathology*
  • Lung Diseases / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Retrospective Studies