Safety and Performance of Transbronchial Cryobiopsy for Parenchymal Lung Lesions

Felix J. Herth, Max Mayer, Jeffrey Thiboutot, Christopher M. Kapp, Jiayuan Sun, Xiaoju Zhang, Jonas Herth, Konstantina Kontogianni, Lonny Yarmus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite advances in technology, the bronchoscopic diagnosis of parenchymal pulmonary lesions (PPLs) remains difficult to achieve. Transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TLCB) offers the potential for larger samples with improved diagnostic yield; however, a paucity of data exists describing its safety and usefulness for the diagnosis of PPL. Research Question: What is the safety profile of TLCB for PPL? Study Design and Methods: An observational, retrospective, multicenter cohort study enrolled patients without endobronchial disease undergoing TLCB of PPL from 2015 through 2019. All procedures were performed using both rigid and flexible bronchoscopy with a flexible cryoprobe. Complication rates, including bleeding and pneumothorax rates, were collected. Bleeding was graded on a scale from 0 (trace) to 4 (requiring surgical intervention) with a grade of ≥ 3 considered clinically significant. Pneumothorax, tube thoracostomy placement, diagnostic yield, and need for subsequent interventions were recorded. Results: One thousand twenty-four patients underwent TLCB. One hundred eighty-eight patients (18%) experienced bleeding; in 36 patients (3.5%), the bleeding was clinically significant. Sixty-eight patients (6.6%) demonstrated a pneumothorax and 64 patients (6.3%) required drainage with tube thoracostomy. All chest drains were removed within 4 days, and no cases of prolonged air leak occurred. A definitive diagnosis was achieved in 932 patients (91%). Adenocarcinoma (46%) and metastatic disease (21%) were the most common diagnoses. Interpretation: TLCB showed an acceptable safety profile and diagnostic yield for the evaluation of PPL in this large retrospective cohort. Prospective clinical trials are underway to validate these findings further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1512-1519
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • bronchoscopy
  • cryobiopsy
  • lung cancer
  • peripheral pulmonary lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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