Transbronchial biopsy has become the procedure of choice for the diagnosis of acute lung rejection after transplantation, but the sensitivity of the technique in this setting remains unknown. In this study, 14 mongrel dogs underwent left lung transplantation, after which triple-drug immunosuppression was given for 5 days and then all immunosuppression was stopped. All animals had clear chest radiographs at this time. Transbronchial biopsy was performed in nine lung regions (two to six pieces of lung tissue were obtained per region, with a mean of 4.3 pieces per region) before the animals were killed 2 to 4 days later, at which time varying degrees of rejection had occurred. Rejection was graded histologically on a scale of 0 to 3 (0 = no rejection, 1 = mild rejection, 2 = moderate rejection, 3 = severe rejection) in each piece of lung tissue obtained at transbronchial biopsy. After the dogs were put to death, the true state of lung rejection was determined by histologic examination of the entire lung. We calculated the sensitivity of transbronchial biopsy with 95% confidence intervals. Five pieces of lung tissue were needed to yield a sensitivity of 92% (82%, 100%) to identify mild rejection in the entire lung with transbronchial biopsy. Three pieces of lung tissue were needed to yield a sensitivity of 92% (84%, 100%) to identify the presence of moderate to severe rejection in the entire lung (that is, rejection that requires pulse therapy) on transbronchial biopsy. These results indicate that three to five pieces of lung tissue that are suitable for diagnostic purposes obtained at transbronchial biopsy are adequate for the diagnosis of acute pulmonary rejection after lung transplantation.