Broncholith removal using cryotherapy during flexible bronchoscopy: a case report

Chest. 2007 Nov;132(5):1661-3. doi: 10.1378/chest.07-0739.


Pulmonary broncholithiasis can cause a management dilemma depending on its location and the possible involvement of vascular structures. Many patients undergo rigid bronchoscopy or surgical interventions for the removal of broncholiths. In this case report, we describe a 38-year-old white man with a history of performing warehouse demolitions who presented with chronic cough, dyspnea on exertion, and recurrent pneumonia. Imaging studies revealed hilar and mediastinal calcifications, as well as a calcification in the right middle lobe bronchus. Flexible bronchoscopy revealed a mobile obstructing calcified mass in the right middle lobe bronchus. Attempts at removing the mass with forceps were unsuccessful. Instead, the mass was removed using cryotherapy with minimal bleeding and complete resolution of the obstruction. Pathologic examination confirmed that the mass was a broncholith, and stains revealed the presence of histoplasma fungal forms. Partially attached broncholiths can be removed safely using flexible bronchoscopy with the aid of cryotherapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchial Diseases / diagnosis
  • Bronchial Diseases / therapy*
  • Bronchoscopy*
  • Calculi / microbiology
  • Calculi / therapy*
  • Cryotherapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Histoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male