Accuracy and sensitivity of computed tomography-guided percutaneous needle biopsy of pulmonary hilar lymph nodes

Rony Avritscher, Savitri Krishnamurthy, Joe Ensor, Sanjay Gupta, Alda Tam, David C. Madoff, Ravi Murthy, Marshall E. Hicks, Michael J. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Because of their proximity to the pulmonary artery or vein, hilar lymph nodes are routinely biopsied with endobronchial or endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS)-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). Computed tomography (CT)-guided percutaneous needle biopsy (PNB) allows the operator to acquire a larger core needle biopsy (CNB) when initial samples are inconclusive, when the suspected disease is not optimally diagnosed with FNAB, or when biomarkers are required. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the sensitivity and accuracy of CT-guided PNB in patients with hilar adenopathy. METHODS: The authors identified 80 patients who underwent 81 CT-guided PNBs of pulmonary hilar lesions from October 2002 through December 2006 and retrospectively reviewed their medical and imaging records. The PNB sensitivity and accuracy were calculated in each case, and each case was reviewed for complications, including pneumothorax and subsequent thoracostomy tube insertion. RESULTS: PNB included FNAB and CNB in 81 (100%) and 14 (17%) procedures, respectively. Data on 69 PNB specimens (67 FNAB specimens and 13 CNB specimens) were available for statistical analysis. Overall, PNB had a sensitivity of 91.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 81.0%-97.1%) and an accuracy rate of 92.8% (95% CI, 83.9%-97.1%). Pneumothoraxes occurred in 39 patients (48%), 26 (32%) of whom required thoracostomy tube insertion. CONCLUSIONS: CT-guided PNB of pulmonary hilar lesions has high sensitivity and accuracy and represents a viable alternative for endobronchial ultrasound- or EUS-guided FNAB when larger biopsy samples are required for diagnosis or biomarker analysis. However, the procedure can result in high rates of pneumothorax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1974-1980
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2010


  • Computed tomography
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Pneumothorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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