Transbronchial Lung Cryobiopsy in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A State of the Art Review

Taha Lodhi, Gareth Hughes, Stefan Stanel, Nazia Chaudhuri, Conal Hayton

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Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive lung disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis of IPF involves a combination of clinical history, radiological imaging and examination of histopathological samples in appropriate cases. Historically, transbronchial biopsy (TBB) has been used to obtain histological samples; however this lacks diagnostic accuracy. At present, surgical lung biopsy (SLB) is the gold standard technique for obtaining specimen samples; however this carries a significant mortality risk. Transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TBLC) is a new technique that has been pioneered in the management of lung malignancy and offers a potential alternative to SLB. The technique employs a freezing probe, which is used to obtain lung tissue samples that are larger and better quality than traditional TBB samples. This affords TBLC an estimated diagnostic yield of 80% in interstitial lung disease. However, with limited evidence directly comparing TBLC to SLB, the diagnostic accuracy of the procedure has been uncertain. Common complications of TBLC include pneumothorax and bleeding. Mortality in TBLC is low compared with SLB, with exacerbation of IPF frequently reported as the cause. TBLC represents an exciting potential option in the diagnostic pathway in IPF; however its true value has yet to be determined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2193–2204
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Therapy
Early online date30 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • diagnosis
  • idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • interstitial lung disease
  • pulmonary
  • safety
  • surgical lung biopsy
  • transbronchial lung biopsy
  • transbronchial lung cryobiopsy


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