Formalin-fixed Blood Clots-Additional Histological Findings on Computed Tomography-guided Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsies in Comparison with Core Biopsies

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We investigated the diagnostic yield of histological examined formalin-fixed blood clots (FFBCs) in comparison with the established procedures of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) and core biopsy (CB) obtained by percutaneous puncture under computed tomography (CT) guidance.


A total of 76 CT-guided punctures with removal of tissue by means of all 3 different techniques (FFBC, FNAB, and CB) were performed. Specimens were obtained from the lung (n = 18), mediastinum (n = 10), upper abdominal organs (n = 32), pelvis (n = 4), retroperitoneum (n = 4), bones (n = 7), and neck (n = 1). All results were correlated with the clinical course of the patients (minimum, 6 months; mean period, 10 months). The results of each technique were compared. Results of a combined use of FFBC and FNAB were analyzed.


The overall sensitivity (regardless of biopsy site) was 79% for FFBC, 83% for FNAB, and 95% for CB. In chest biopsies, FFBC reached a sensitivity of 92%, FNAB of 86%, and CB of 96%. In liver biopsies, the sensitivities were 47%, 70%, and 88% for FFBC, FNAB, and CB and, for the remaining biopsy sites, 90%, 90%, and 100%, respectively. The combination of FFBC and FNAB showed higher sensitivities than FFBC and FNAB alone. Overall sensitivity for the combination was 88%, with 92%, 72%, and 100% for thorax, liver, and other locations. A definitive diagnosis was made by FFBC in 87% of cases, by FNAB in 74%, and by CB in 88%. The combination of FFBC and FNAB showed a definite diagnosis in 90% of the cases. A tentative diagnosis has been established in 12%, 7%, 5%, and 4%, respectively. In 4 cases (5%), all 3 techniques failed to yield reliable diagnoses.


The examination of FFBCs is a useful supplement to the established technique of CT biopsy. In combination with FNAB, FFBC has a comparable sensitivity as CB in chest punctures and other extrahepatic lesions.

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