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Pneumothorax Induced by Computed Tomography Guided Transthoracic Needle Biopsy: A Review for the Clinician

Authors Zeng L, Liao H, Ren F, Zhang Y, Wang Q, Xie M

Received 17 January 2021

Accepted for publication 10 March 2021

Published 23 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 1013—1022


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Lichuan Zeng,1 Huaqiang Liao,1 Fengchun Ren,1 Yudong Zhang,1 Qu Wang,2 Mingguo Xie1

1Department of Radiology, Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Ultrasound, Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Mingguo Xie; Qu Wang
Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China
Email [email protected]; [email protected]

Abstract: Percutaneous computed tomography (CT)-guided transthoracic needle biopsy (TTNB) is a valuable procedure for obtaining tissue or cells for diagnosis, which is especially indispensable in thoracic oncology. Pneumothorax and hemoptysis are the most common complications of percutaneous needle biopsy of the lung. According to reports published over the past decades, pneumothorax incidence in patients who underwent TTNB greatly varies. The morbidity of pneumothorax after CT-guided TTNB depends on several factors, including size and depth of lesions, emphysema, the number of pleural surfaces and fissure crossed, etc. Attention to biopsy planning and technique and post-biopsy precautions help to prevent or minimize potential complications. Many measures can be taken to help prevent the progression of a pneumothorax, which in turn might reduce the number of pneumothoraces requiring chest tube placement. A multitude of therapeutic options is available for the treatment of pneumothorax, varying from observation and oxygen treatment, simple manual aspiration, to chest tube placement. When a pneumothorax develops during the biopsy procedure, it can be manually aspirated after the needle is retracted back into the pleural space or by inserting a separate needle into the pleural space. Biopsy side down positioning of the patient after biopsy significantly reduces the incidence of pneumothorax and the requirement of chest tube placement. Aspiration in biopsy side down position is also recommended for treating pneumothorax when simple manual aspiration is unsuccessful or delayed pneumothorax occurred. Chest tube placement is an important treatment strategy for patients with a large or symptomatic pneumothorax. Clinicians are encouraged to understand the development, prevention, and treatment of pneumothorax. Efforts should be made to reduce the incidence of pneumothorax in biopsy planning and post-biopsy precautions. When pneumothorax occurs, appropriate treatment should be adopted to reduce the risk of worsening pneumothorax.

Keywords: pneumothorax, lung biopsy, aspiration, chest tube placement, computed tomography, CT

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