Evaluation of Transbronchial Lung Cryobiopsy Size and Freezing Time: A Prognostic Animal Study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Respiration, 2016, 92 (1), pp. 34 - 39
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© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel. Copyright: All rights reserved. Background: Transbronchial lung biopsy using a cryoprobe is a novel way of sampling lung parenchyma. Correlation of freezing time with biopsy size and complications has not been evaluated in vivo. Objectives: The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the correlation between transbronchial cryobiopsy freezing time and size. The secondary aims are to evaluate histological quality of the biopsy and evaluate procedure-associated complications. Methods: Transbronchial lung cryobiopsies were obtained from two anaesthetised sheep using a 1.9-mm cryoprobe inserted into a flexible bronchoscope under fluoroscopic guidance. Freezing times ranged from 1 to 6 s (n = 49). The cryobiopsies were evaluated histologically with respect to their size and quality. Complications of bleeding and pneumothorax were recorded. Results: The mean cross-sectional area of the cryobiopsy ranged from 4.7 ± 2.1 to 15.7 ± 15.3 mm2. There was a significant positive correlation between increasing freezing time and cryobiopsy cross-sectional area (p = 0.028). All biopsies contained lung tissue with preserved parenchyma. Crush and freeze artefacts were not observed and tissue architecture was intact in all specimens. Small blood vessels and terminal bronchioles were observed in 88% of specimens. All cryobiopsies caused nil or mild haemorrhage with the exception of only 1 episode of severe haemorrhage at 6 s freezing time. Pneumothoraces occurred at 2, 5 and 6 s freezing time and required chest tube insertion. The most significant haemorrhage and pneumothoraces occurred at 5 and 6 s. Our results suggest an initial freezing time of 3 s can provide the maximal biopsy size while minimising major complications. Conclusion: The optimal transbronchial cryobiopsy freezing time is initially 3 s. This time is associated with minimal complications and large artefact-free biopsies.
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