Fiberoptic bronchoscopic cryotherapy in the management of tracheobronchial obstruction

Chest. 1996 Sep;110(3):718-23. doi: 10.1378/chest.110.3.718.


Cryotherapy is used for endoscopic management of tracheobronchial obstruction (TBO). This study describes the use of a flexible cryoprobe for cryotherapy using nitrous oxide as a cryogen through a fiberoptic bronchoscope. The study group consisted of 22 patients, ages ranging from 28 to 82 years. Twenty patients had malignant TBO and two had bronchial obstruction (BO) following lung transplantation. Benign BO was first dilated with a balloon and followed with cryotherapy. Eighteen of the 20 malignant endobronchial lesions were completely removed. In three of these patients, the airway remained occluded due to extrinsic compression. Cryotherapy offers an alternative to Nd:YAG laser in the management of TBO. Cryotherapy offers other advantages such as being inexpensive, safe for the operator, and safe for other members of the team. Similarly for the patient, there is no danger of bronchial wall perforation or endobronchial fires, cryotherapy can be done under local anesthesia with conscious sedation, and it can be performed in an endoscopy suite.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy*
  • Bronchial Diseases / etiology
  • Bronchial Diseases / therapy*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Catheterization
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Cryotherapy* / adverse effects
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tracheal Diseases / etiology
  • Tracheal Diseases / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome