Safety and Clinical Utility of Flexible Bronchoscopic Cryoextraction in Patients with Non-neoplasm Tracheobronchial Obstruction

Narin Sriratanaviriyakul, Francis Lam, Brian M Morrissey, Nicholas Stollenwerk, Michael Schivo, Ken Y Yoneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Background: Airway obstruction from blood clots, airway secretions, and foreign bodies is a potentially life-threatening condition. Optimal management of this problem, whether by rigid or flexible bronchoscopy, has not been well studied. We report our single-center experience on the safety and clinical utility of cryoprobe extraction for this indication. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review from January 2006 to November 2014 of all subjects aged 18 and older who underwent flexible bronchoscopic cryoprobe extraction. Subjects with obstruction due to benign or malignant neoplasm or airway stenosis were excluded. Results: A total of 38 cryotherapy sessions performed on 30 subjects were identified for inclusion. Cryoprobe extraction was successful in reestablishing airway patency in 32/38 (84%) sessions overall and in 24/26 (92%) for blood clots, 4/6 (67%) for mucous plugging, 2/4 (50%) for foreign bodies, and 2/2 (100%) for plastic bronchitis. Twenty-one of 31 (68%) sessions resulted in improvement in oxygenation or ventilation. There was 1 complication related to sedation. Conclusions: We conclude that flexible bronchoscopic cryoprobe extraction of blood clots, mucous secretions, plastic bronchitis, and foreign bodies is a safe and effective option. It can be safely performed at the bedside and in many cases eliminates the need for rigid bronchoscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-293
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015



  • airway obstruction
  • blood clot
  • bronchoscopy
  • cryoprobe
  • foreign body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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