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February 2, 1970

Hazard of the Cope Biopsy Needle

Author Affiliations

Little Rock (Ark) Veterans Administration Hospital

JAMA. 1970;211(5):831. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170050065026

To the Editor.—  Use of the Cope biopsy needle has increased steadily since its introduction.1 It is a valuable tool to obtain pleural, peritoneal, or other tissue quickly and more easily than through open surgical biopsy. Nonetheless, the instrument has its hazards and should be used cautiously. Pneumothorax and excessive bleeding are well-recognized complications of the pleural biopsy procedure. A further complication is noted.

Report of a Case.—  A 51-year-old man presented with a history of tuberculosis and "pleurisy," for which he had received no medical therapy. Roentgenogram of the chest revealed a 2-cm mass in the upper lobe of the right lung with an associated pleural effusion.Pleural biopsy was attempted with the Cope needle. The instrument was inserted and positioned but would not retract into the cannula at the time of biopsy. The needle was "cleared" with the inner trocar and the biopsy procedure repeated without removing the