Echo-controlled endomyocardial biopsy

T. Ragni, L. Martinelli, C. Goggi, G. Speziali, M. Rinaldi, G. Roda, C. Pederzolli, P. A A Intili, A. Raisaro, M. Vigano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endomyocardial biopsy is an essential procedure for the diagnosis and grading of rejection in heart transplant patients. Direct control of the bioptome positioning has classically been obtained by fluoroscopy. Starting in June 1988, at our institution an alternative approach involving the use of two-dimensional echocardiography was introduced in clinical practice. In 125 patients 1591 biopsies have been performed: 445 under echographic control and 1146 under fluoroscopic control with 3.6 and 4.5 samples/biopsy, respectively. The percentages of inadequate samples caused by biopsy site sampling were 0.4% and 1.3%, respectively, in the two groups. Cardiac perforation has occurred twice in the fluoroscopic group; it has not been observed in the echographic group. One case of iatrogenic tricuspid regurgitation was detected in each group. We now consider echocardiography the method of choice to guide the bioptome. We prefer it to fluoroscopy because it eliminates the risks of x-ray exposure, increases the number of sampling sites in case of echocardiographic evidence of rejection, can be easily performed as a bedside procedure, allows choice and variation of sampling sites, and permits monitoring of cardiac complications during and after the procedure. A randomized clinical trial is probably needed to assess with statistical significance the superiority of the echographic-controlled biopsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-542
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Heart Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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