Six years' experience of percutaneous core needle biopsy using the Hausser needle in 502 patients, aged 20-89 years, is reported. A biopsy was carried out when sputum and bronchoscopic methods had failed to establish a definitive histological diagnosis. Over 60% of the lesions were peripheral and about 40% were 2-4 cm in diameter. A correct diagnosis was made by this means in 312 of the 339 patients shown eventually to have a malignant lesion (92%) and in 130 of 146 patients with a benign lesion (89%). A definitive diagnosis was never established in 17 patients. Complications arose in 15% of cases. Pneumothorax occurred in 43 patients (7%), of whom 12 required a chest drain. Further complications included a small haemoptysis (less than 30 ml) in 27 patients (5%), haemothorax necessitating a chest drain in three patients, and an intrapulmonary haematoma in five patients. There were no fatal or permanent complications. Percutaneous core needle biopsy is a valuable procedure with a high diagnostic accuracy in these patients and a low rate of complications.
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