Cryodebridement (CD) refers to the removal of obstructive material from the lumen of the tracheobronchial tree by freezing with a cryoprobe, which is usually inserted through a flexible bronchoscope. This method of achieving instant recanalization of airways has been established for over 20 years, but published experience comprises limited case series.Objectives:
This study describes a single large-volume referral center experience, including clinical outcomes and safety profile.Methods:
Electronic medical records of 156 patients who underwent bronchoscopic CD between December 2007 and March 2012 as the primary method to relieve airway obstruction were reviewed retrospectively.Measurements and Main Results:
The most frequent cause of airway obstruction was malignancy (n = 88), with non-small-cell lung cancer and metastatic renal cell carcinoma being the most common etiologies. The site of obstruction was localized to the central airways in 63 patients (40%) and the distal airways in 44 patients (28%), and it was diffuse in 49 patients (32%). Bronchoscopic airway patency was achieved in 95% of patients, with the highest success rates found in those with obstruction localized in the central airways. Improvement in symptoms occurred in 118 (82%) of 144 symptomatic patients. Serious complications were reported in 17 patients (11%) and included respiratory distress, severe bleeding, airway injury, and hemodynamic instability. All patients responded to treatment, and no intra- or postoperative deaths were reported.Conclusions:
CD, when used alone or in combination with other endoscopic treatment modalities, appears to be safe and effective in treating endoluminal airway obstruction.