Utility of Flexible Bronchoscopic Cryobiopsy for Diagnosis of Diffuse Parenchymal Lung Diseases

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Background:Initial reports of transbronchial cryobiopsy for diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD) suggest the diagnostic yield approaches that of surgical lung biopsy (SLB) with an excellent safety profile. Centers performing cryobiopsy differ significantly in procedure technique; an optimal technique minimizing complications but still capable of diagnosing a wide range of DPLDs has not been established. We evaluated our practice of flexible bronchoscopic cryobiopsy in a primarily outpatient setting for patients who required a tissue diagnosis for DPLD of uncertain etiology.Methods:Consecutive patients with indeterminate DPLD who underwent bronchoscopic cryobiopsy at a large academic medical center from January 2012 to August 2015 were retrospectively analyzed. Rates of confident histopathologic diagnosis, confident multidisciplinary consensus diagnosis, management change, and complications were determined.Results:One hundred four cases were identified. Confident histopathologic diagnoses were established in 44% (46/104) and confident multidisciplinary consensus diagnoses in 68% (71/104). Usual interstitial pneumonia (19/104) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (22/104) were the most common histopathologic and consensus diagnoses, respectively. Five subjects proceeded to SLB after cryobiopsy which was diagnostic in 3. Results of cryobiopsies changed management in 70% (73/104). Complications occurred in 8 cases with no death.Conclusions:Cryobiopsy during outpatient flexible bronchoscopy facilitated confident multidisciplinary consensus diagnosis of DPLD in more than two thirds of cases, and appears sufficient to establish the histopathologic diagnosis of usual interstitial pneumonia, with a complication rate that compares favorably to that reported for SLB.

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