Culture - lung needle biopsy

Alternative names
Lung needle biopsy culture

This is a laboratory test to isolate and identify organisms that cause infection from a lung specimen.

How the test is performed
A needle biopsy of the lung tissue is obtained by either putting a needle into the chest wall and then lung, or by doing a bronchoscopy and taking an internal needle biopsy. The tissue is sent to the laboratory. The tissue sample will be placed in special media and observed for the growth of organisms.

How to prepare for the test
Before a needle biopsy of the lung, a chest x-ray, CT scan of the chest, or bronchoscopy has been performed. A mild sedative may precede the biopsy. You must sign a consent form. It is important to remain as still as possible for the biopsy and to refrain from coughing.

For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age and experience. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the test will feel
A lung needle biopsy is preceded by a local injection of anesthetic. You will feel pressure and brief sharp pain when the needle touches the lung.

Why the test is performed
A lung needle biopsy culture is performed when infection of the lung is suspected and sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage (see Bronchoscopy with lavage “BAL”) cultures have not identified the cause of the infection.

Normal Values
No growth is normal.

What abnormal results mean
Abnormal results may indicate a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the lung.

What the risks are
The risks include infection, bleeding, and Pneumothorax (a collapsed lung).

Special considerations
Not applicable.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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