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August 1977

Percutaneous Transthoracic Needle Aspiration of the LungDiagnosing Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonitis

Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(8):902-907. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120210080017

• Percutaneous transthoracic needle aspiration was performed on 228 occasions to obtain lung specimens from 202 patients with suspected Pneumocystis carinii pneumonitis. In 121 patients the diagnosis was established by identifying P carinii organisms in lung aspirates. Six patients whose aspirates did not contain P carinii were found to have the organism at autopsy. Findings from toluidine blue O and Gomori methenamine silver nitrate stains were equally satisfactory for detecting P carinii, but the percentage of specific diagnosis was higher when specimens were stained with both. Pneumothorax that required a thoracotomy tube occurred in 39 patients. Other infectious agents, either bacteria or fungi, were found in only four patients. Percutaneous pulmonary needle aspiration—when performed under fluoroscopic guidance—is a rapid and effective method for the diagnosis of P carinii pneumonitis.

(Am J Dis Child 131:902-907, 1977)