High-Resolution CT Detection of Lacerations in the Transplanted Lung After Transbronchial Biopsy

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Relatively large tissue samples may be obtained from the lung with the “Alligator” biopsy forceps. We report the radiographic and high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) appearances of six pulmonary lacerations in the transplanted lungs of three asymptomatic patients after transbronchial biopsy with this large caliber biopsy forceps. All patients had undergone trans-bronchial buipsy from 4 to 10 days before HRCT that was performed as part of routine surveillance after transplantation. The site and histopathologic findings of lung biopsies and negative microbiologic studies on bronchoalveolar washings correlated accurately with each pulmonary lesion seen. Laceration size varied from 9 to 20 mm (mean 14 mm) on HRCT. A thickened wall or surrounding alveolar reaction related to bronchoalveolar lavage or biopsy-induced hemorrhage was seen in five lesions. These simulated the appearance of lung abscess or invasive fungal disease. Only nonspecific alveolar opacities were noted on chest radiographs. The Alligator biopsy forceps may cause pulmonary lacerations in transplanted lungs that are detectable on HRCT but not on chest radiographs. Differentiation from opportunistic infection by CT criteria alone is difficult in these immunocompromised patients. CT studies in this population should be performed prior to transbronchial biopsy whenever possible.

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