Diagnosis of interstitial lung disease is based on the analysis of clinical, biological, radiological and pathological findings during a multidisciplinary discussion (MDD). When a definitive diagnosis is not possible, guidelines recommend obtaining lung samples through surgical lung biopsy (SLB). We sought to determine morbidity, mortality, diagnostic yield, and therapeutic impact of SLB in the management of patients with interstitial lung disease.
We retrospectively analyzed morbidity, mortality, diagnostic yield, and therapeutic changes following SLB for interstitial lung disease performed electively from January 2015 to May 2019 in a reference center. Each case was reviewed during two MDD, first without (MDD1) and then with (MDD2) the result of the SLB.
Study group included 73 patients (male 56%, age 66 years [57-70], FVC 79% [69-91], DLCO 52% [46-63]). Median postoperative hospital length of stay was 2 days [0-11]. Thirteen patients (17%) experienced at least one complication, including pain at 1 month (n=8) and residual pneumothorax (n=6). No serious complication or postoperative death was noticed. After MMD1, the working diagnosis was idiopathic non-specific interstitial pneumonia in 20 (27%), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 18 (25%), fibrotic hypersensitivity pneumonitis in 15 (21%), unclassifiable interstitial lung disease in 5 (7%) and other diagnosis in 15 patients (21%). After SLB and MDD2, the final diagnosis was modified in 35 patients (48%) and led to therapeutic changes in 33 patients (45%).
SLB is associated with no serious complication or death and notably changes the diagnosis and treatment of interstitial lung disease.

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