Tru-cut needle pleural biopsy and cytology as the initial procedure in the evaluation of pleural effusion

Arch Bronconeumol. 2014 Aug;50(8):313-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2013.12.011. Epub 2014 Feb 24.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction and objectives: The evaluation of pleural effusion (PE) includes various techniques, including pleural biopsy (PB). Our aim was to study the diagnostic yield of Tru-Cut needle PB (TCPB) and to define clinical/radiological situations in which TCPB might be indicated as an initial procedure.

Methodology: Retrospective study of TCPB in a hospital centre (2010-2012). Cases of pleural lesions without effusion were excluded. Clinical and radiological variables, diagnostic yield, TCPB complications and factors associated with the diagnostic yield of the combination of TCPB and thoracocentesis as initial procedure were analysed.

Results: One hundred and twenty-seven (127) TCPB were reviewed: 29.1% were cases of malignant PE and in 18.9% the cause of the PE could not be determined. The diagnostic yield of TCPB for tuberculosis was 76.5% (13/17) and 54% (20/37) for malignant PE. Complications occurred in 4.7% of the cases. In 72 patients with a final definitive diagnosis, TCPB was performed at the same time as the initial thoracocentesis. Diagnostic yield for the combination of TCPB/cytology as an initial technique was 43% (31/72) compared to 12.5% (9/72) for cytology only (p=0.01). The only predictive variable for the indication of TCBP as an initial technique was a PE volume>2/3 (P=.04).

Conclusions: TCPB is safe and provides an acceptable diagnostic yield, particularly when combined with simultaneous cytology in the evaluation of PE of various aetiologies. Radiological criteria may help guide the selection of patients who could benefit from this technique as an initial procedure combined with thoracocentesis.

Keywords: Aguja Tru-cut; Biopsia pleural; Derrame pleural; Diagnostic yield; Pleural biopsy; Pleural effusion; Rentabilidad diagnóstica; Tru-cut needle.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Needle* / instrumentation
  • Cytological Techniques
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Needles
  • Paracentesis
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnosis
  • Pleural Effusion / epidemiology
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology*
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / diagnosis
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / epidemiology
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional