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Acid-Fast Bacilli in Pleural Biopsy Specimens

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(3):438-441. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620090110013.
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The value of pleural biopsy in the differential diagnosis of pleural effusion is well established.1,6 However, the frequency with which acid-fast bacilli have been reported in stained sections of needle biopsy specimens has been unimpressive. All too frequently the report of a granulomatous reaction which is compatible with tuberculosis must be accepted as a basis for treatment, with stains for acid-fast bacilli being either negative or even omitted. In this hospital we have recently used the Harefield needle, which was developed in England.3 It is the increased frequency with which acid-fast bacilli have been demonstrated in these needle biopsy specimens of the pleura which prompts this brief report at this time.

Methods and Patient Material  Previous reports have dealt with both open surgical biopsy and closed needle biopsy.1,6 Of the needle biopsies, the majority have been done with a Vim-Silverman aspiration needle, although Cope2 has reported


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