Complication and cost analysis of transbronchial lung cryobiopsy and awake video-assisted thoracic surgery in diagnosis of interstitial lung disease

Sarcoidosis Vasc Diffuse Lung Dis. 2022;39(1):e2022005. doi: 10.36141/svdld.v39i1.12293. Epub 2022 Mar 31.


Aim and introduction: Diagnosing of interstitial lung disease (ILD) is difficult and expensive. The standard diagnostical approaches to ILD are bronchoalveolar lavage, transbronchial lung biopsy, transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TBLC) and surgical lung biopsy (SLB). SLB is gold standard for the confident diagnosis of ILD but because of the poor performance of the patients it's use is limited. We conducted a retrospective study to point out that TBLC plays an important role in diagnosis of ILD and has fewer complications and lower cost than awake video-assisted thoracic surgery (AVATS).

Material and methods: 132 patients who underwent TBLC and AVATS with a pre-diagnosis of ILD in our hospital between 2015 and 2020 were evaluated retrospectively. Diagnosis rates, complications and costs were recorded.

Results: There were no non-diagnostic materials in 44 patients in AVATS arm. Prolonged air leak was observed in 11(25.0%) of the patients, and six of them (13.6%) were discharged with Heimlich Valve (HV). Median length of stay in the hospital was 8 days, while average patient cost was $515.9 (415.2-2662.9) in the AVATS arm. Non-diagnostic material was obtained from 10 (11.3%) of 88 patients in TBLC arm. Six (6.8%) of them had pneumothorax, only one of them required a chest tube. No patient was discharged with HV (p=0.001). Median cost for each patient with a median hospital stay of 2.0 (1.0-21.0) (p<0.001) days was $171.9 (80.8-1493.3) (p<0.001).

Discussion: Although TBLC is behind AVATS in terms of diagnostic accuracy, it may be an alternative diagnostic tool in the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease due to its acceptable safety profile and cost-effectiveness.

Keywords: Interstitial lung disease; awake video-assisted thoracic surgery; complication; cost; transbronchial lung cryobiopsy.