KENYA—In a groundbreaking medical achievement for East Africa, Avenue Healthcare at Parklands Hospital has successfully completed the region’s first transbronchial cryobiopsy.

This innovative procedure represents a significant advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of diffuse parenchymal lung disease (DPLD), marking a departure from traditional biopsy methods.

Until recently, two primary modalities were employed to obtain biopsies for DPLD diagnosis: surgical lung biopsy (SLB) and bronchoscopic transbronchial forceps lung biopsy.

SLB, conducted through video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, yields large biopsy samples, typically several centimetres in greatest dimension, as Lentz, Argento, Colby, and others discuss in the “Transbronchial cryobiopsy for diffuse parenchymal lung disease: a state-of-the-art review of procedural techniques, current evidence, and future challenges” research.

On the other hand, transbronchial biopsy (TBB) using traditional forceps results in smaller samples, ranging from 1 to 3 mm, often with significant crush artifacts.

TBB with a cryoprobe, or cryobiopsy, is a recent advancement in sampling lung parenchyma.

This technique involves using a flexible cryoprobe to rapidly freeze a peripheral lung area, subsequently extracting it as a cryobiopsy.

These cryobiopsy specimens are notably larger than those obtained using traditional forceps, offering improved diagnostic potential.

Initially regarded as a promising bronchoscopic biopsy technique, cryobiopsy was developed to address the limitations of traditional forceps TBB in diagnosing diffuse parenchymal lung diseases.

The focus has been on obtaining larger and better-preserved samples, crucial for accurate diagnoses.

Introduced at Parklands, this pioneering procedure signifies a significant stride forward in treating chronic respiratory conditions.

Patients now have access to an effective alternative, eliminating the need to travel abroad for advanced care.

Transbronchial cryobiopsy, being a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure, is especially crucial for patients with chronic pneumonia.

The cutting-edge cryoprobe technology allows for the freezing and extraction of lung tissue samples with precision, minimizing patient discomfort and expediting recovery.

The success of the operation at Parklands underscores the hospital’s commitment to incorporating the latest medical technologies and specialist expertise.

 Dr. Said, the Hospital Manager, emphasized the patient’s excellent recovery, affirming the procedure’s efficacy and the high-quality care provided by the hospital.

Recognized as a potential alternative to surgical lung biopsy for interstitial lung disease (ILD) diagnosis, transbronchial cryobiopsy (TBC) is gaining increased recognition.

Modern cryoprobes, featuring long flexible insulated catheters with blunt metal tips, can be advanced through the working channel of the bronchoscope, highlighting the technological advancements driving this diagnostic approach. 

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