Thomas V. Colby, Sara Tomassetti, Alberto Cavazza, Alessandra Dubini, and Venerino Poletti (2017) Transbronchial Cryobiopsy in Diffuse Lung Disease: Update for the Pathologist. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: July 2017, Vol. 141, No. 7, pp. 891-900.
SPECIAL SECTION—THIRD PRINCETON INTEGRATED PATHOLOGY SYMPOSIUM: THORACIC PATHOLOGY
Thomas V. Colby, MD; Sara Tomassetti, MD; Alberto Cavazza, MD; Alessandra Dubini, MD; Venerino Poletti, MD
From the Department of Pathology, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale (Dr Colby); the Departments of Diseases of the Thorax (Drs Tomassetti and Poletti) and Pathology (Dr Dubini), G.B. Morgagni Hospital, Forli, Italy; the Department of Pathology, Arcispedale S Maria Nouva, Istituti di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Reggio Emilia, Italy (Dr Cavazza); and the Department of Respiratory Diseases and Allergy, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark (Dr Poletti).
Context.— Transbronchial cryobiopsy has recently been proposed as an alternative to surgical biopsy in the diagnosis of diffuse lung disease.
Objective.— To familiarize pathologists with transbronchial cryobiopsy, including what it is, how it is performed, how it compares to other techniques of lung biopsy in diffuse lung disease, what are the technical issues relating to it, what the complications are, how cryobiopsies should be interpreted, and the clinical usefulness of cryobiopsy.
Data Sources.— All the available literature on cryobiopsy in diffuse lung disease through May 2016, primarily in the last 5 years, was reviewed, and some unpublished data known to the authors were included.
Conclusions.— Cryobiopsies are considerably larger than forceps biopsies and allow pattern recognition approaching that of a surgical lung biopsy in many cases. Artifacts associated with cryobiopsy are minimal. In comparison with surgical lung biopsies, the diagnosis rate with cryobiopsies is lower, in the neighborhood of 80%, versus higher than 90% for surgical lung biopsies. Cryobiopsy is proposed as an alternative to surgical lung biopsy and a technique that may appreciably decrease the number of patients who require surgical lung biopsy for diagnosis. This is important because the mortality from cryobiopsy is very small (0.1% to date) compared with surgical lung biopsy (1.7% for elective procedures and considerably higher for nonelective procedures).