Endobronchial tumor debulking with a flexible cryoprobe for immediate treatment of malignant stenosis

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2010 Apr;139(4):997-1000. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2009.06.023. Epub 2009 Aug 27.


Objective: In addition to use of a laser, argon plasma coagulation, electrocautery, or coring with a rigid bronchoscope, tumor debulking with a flexible cryoprobe is used for therapeutic bronchoscopy with an immediate effect for endobronchial pathologies. We performed this analysis to determine the usefulness, efficacy, and safety of the flexible cryorecanalization in a large population under routine conditions.

Methods: We identified 225 bronchoscopic interventions that were done as cryorecanalization with a flexible cryoprobe. All patients had symptomatic airway stenosis. We determined the endoscopic success rate and safety (bleeding and perforation) of the procedure.

Results: Successful cryorecanalization was achieved in 205 (91.1%) of 225 patients. The flexible cryoprobe was used with all patients, in most patients in combination with flexible bronchoscopy and only in a minority (n = 31, 13.8%) in combination with a rigid bronchoscope. Additional interventional techniques used were endobronchial stents (n = 11, 4.9%) and argon plasma coagulation (n = 37, 16.4%). Mild bleeding (if ice-cold NaCl or epinephrine solution was necessary) occurred in 9 (4.0%) patients, moderate bleeding (if argon plasma coagulation or a bronchus blocker was required) occurred in 18 (8.0%) patients, and severe bleeding (events with hemodynamic instability) never occurred.

Conclusions: Cryorecanalization with the flexible cryoprobe for treatment of symptomatic endobronchial tumor stenosis is a safe technique with a high success rate and immediate treatment effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / surgery*
  • Bronchial Diseases / complications
  • Bronchial Diseases / surgery*
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / complications
  • Bronchial Neoplasms / surgery
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Cryosurgery / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tracheal Diseases / complications
  • Tracheal Diseases / surgery*
  • Tracheal Neoplasms / complications
  • Tracheal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult