In 1883 Leyden  performed the first percutaneous aspiration biopsy in order to diagnose infectious diseases of the lung. Menetrier  in 1886 diagnosed the first carcinoma of the lung by aspirating tissue through a cannula inserted transthoracically. This method was widely used during the last part of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries; however, serious complications arose with this technique because of the use of large needles and the poor quality of the radiological equipment used for the biopsies. The use of this technique was reported in the literature in England in 1909 by Horder  and since then has received intermittent attention, ranging from enthusiasm to condemnation. The main objections to the procedure included the associated complications, such as pneumothorax, haemoptysis and tumour dissemination, and the inadequacy of the specimens obtained.
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