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Editorials |

Closed Pleural Biopsy: Not Dead Yet!

Michael H. Baumann, MD, MS, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Jackson, MS
 ,  Dr. Baumann is Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Correspondence to: Michael H. Baumann, MD, MS, FCCP, Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State St, Jackson, MS 39216-4505; e-mail: mbaumann@medicine.umsmed.edu



Chest. 2006;129(6):1398-1400. doi:10.1378/chest.129.6.1398
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Despite recent predictions of impending death for closed pleural biopsy,1 Chakrabarti and colleagues (see page 1549)2 provide convincing evidence that pleural biopsy still has a pulse. The authors’ data and discussion offer several points worth reinforcing. In the setting of a diagnostically negative thoracentesis with findings consistent with an exudative effusion, closed pleural biopsy provides a 51% diagnostic sensitivity for pleural malignancy when pleural tissue is successfully obtained. This success was not directly proportional to the level of training, as has been found by others.3 A trend supporting more biopsies increasing the yield for pleural malignancy was noted; the lack of statistical significance likely represents a β error. Earlier studies of tuberculous pleuritis4 and pleural malignancy5 have shown that more closed pleural biopsy specimens increase the diagnostic yield. The current study reconfirms the limited morbidity of pleural biopsy.

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