Transbronchial cryobiopsy in diffuse parenchymal lung disease
The evaluation of patients with diffuse parenchymal lung disease is best achieved by a multidisciplinary team approach combining clinical, radiological, and pathological information. Although a lung biopsy may be necessary to firmly establish a diagnosis, safely obtaining adequate tissue specimens in such patients remains challenging. Traditional bronchoscopic forceps biopsies are not recommended for most idiopathic interstitial pneumonias due to their low diagnostic yields, whereas a surgical lung biopsy increases the risk for serious complications, including a small but real risk of an exacerbation of the underlying interstitial lung disease and death. Bronchoscopic cryosurgical techniques (i.e., cryobiopsy) is being increasingly used as an attractive compromise between the two, due to its ability to be performed under conscious sedation and its ability to obtain larger tissue fragments without crush artifacts. Although promising and increasingly employed at some academic centers, it remains untested in rigorous systematic studies. This article will review the existing literature on the diagnostic role and safety of transbronchial cryobiopsy in patients with diffuse parenchymal lung diseases.