Open lung biopsy as an outpatient procedure
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BACKGROUND: Lung biopsies are frequently needed to diagnose diffuse interstitial lung diseases. Both limited thoracotomy (open lung biopsy) and thoracoscopy can be used for lung biopsies, but both procedures have traditionally required hospital admission. We report a series of patients that underwent outpatient open lung biopsy to show the safety and effectiveness of this practice. METHODS: We reviewed records of ambulatory, nonoxygen dependent patients with a clinical diagnosis of diffuse interstitial lung disease that underwent outpatient open lung biopsy between January 1997 and December 1999. All procedures were done by a senior surgeon using single lumen endotracheal anesthesia, a small anterolateral thoracotomy without rib spreading, stapled wedge resection, and no chest tube. Patients were discharged the same day. RESULTS: Thirty-two patients with a clinical diagnosis of diffuse interstitial lung disease underwent outpatient open lung biopsy. Mean age was 58 years (range, 21 to 74 years). Preoperative forced expiratory volume in 1 second was 74.3%+/-7.0% of predicted. A pathologic diagnosis was established in all patients: usual interstitial pneumonia, 26 patients; sarcoidosis, 2; metastatic carcinoma, 2; desquamative interstitial pneumonia, 1; and mixed dust pneumoconiosis, 1 patient. No patient required a chest tube, overnight observation, or hospital admission. No complications occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Selected patients with a clinical diagnosis of diffuse interstitial lung disease can safely and effectively undergo diagnostic outpatient open lung biopsy. However, careful patient selection and attention to operative detail are essential.
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