Role of Flexible Bronchoscopic Cryotechnology in Diagnosing Endobronchial Masses

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Abstract

Background

Endobronchial masses obstruct the central airway, and cryotechnology is reportedly a feasible means of managing such masses. However, few reports have explored the role of cryotechnology in diagnosing endobronchial masses.

Methods

All endobronchial masses were sampled for pathologic diagnosis by forceps biopsy and cryotechnology, performed during flexible bronchoscopy. The diagnostic accuracy of forceps biopsy and that of cryotherapy were compared by the χ2 test, and the obtained specimen sizes were compared by the t test.

Results

Between 2007 and 2011, 75 patients with a median age of 64 years (interquartile range ‘IQR’, 49–76; 48 men; 27 women; and 52 smokers ‘69.3%’) were diagnosed with endobronchial masses. The sites of these masses included the trachea (n = 17), left main bronchus (n = 16), right main bronchus (n = 11), right upper lobe bronchus (n = 11), right intermediate bronchus (n = 8), right lower lobe bronchus (n = 4), left upper lobe bronchus (n = 3), left lower lobe bronchus (n = 3), and right middle lobe bronchus (n = 2).

Results

Fifty-nine lesions were malignant, and 16 were benign. Lung squamous cell carcinoma (n = 23) was the leading cause of malignancy, and endobronchial tuberculosis (n = 9) was the most common benign disease. The diagnostic accuracy of cryotechnology was significantly higher than that of forceps biopsy (100% vs 69.3%, p < 0.0001). The specimen size obtained by cryotechnology was also significantly larger than that obtained by forceps biopsy (13.8 ± vs 1.9 ± 0.6 mm, p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

The current study supports the view that cryotechnology is a good tool for diagnosing endobronchial masses. Cryotechnology also provides a better diagnostic specimen and has greater diagnostic accuracy than traditional forceps biopsy.

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