Transbronchial Biopsy and Cryobiopsy in the Diagnosis of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis among Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease

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Ann Am Thorac Soc


RATIONALE: Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) is an interstitial lung disease (ILD) whose diagnosis is based on clinical, radiological, and pathological findings. The evidence supporting transbronchial forceps lung biopsy (TBBx) and transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TBLC) as sampling techniques to diagnose HP in patients with newly detected ILD has not been reviewed systematically.

OBJECTIVE: A systematic review was performed to assess the diagnostic yield and complication rates of TBBx or TBLC in patients with newly detected ILD whose differential diagnosis includes HP and to inform the development of the American Thoracic Society (ATS), Japanese Respiratory Society (JRS), and Asociación Latinoamericana del Tórax (ALAT) clinical practice guideline on the diagnosis of HP.

METHODS: Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched through October 2019. Studies that enrolled patients with ILD and reported the diagnostic yield of TBBx or TBLC were selected for inclusion. Data related to diagnostic yield and safety outcomes were extracted and then pooled across studies via meta-analysis. The quality of the evidence was appraised using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach.

RESULTS: Histopathologic diagnostic yield (number of procedures that yielded a histopathologic diagnosis divided by the total number of procedures performed) of TBBx and TBLC were 37% (95% CI 32-42%) and 82% (95% CI 78-86%) respectively among patients with ILD. Among those diagnosed by TBBx, the proportion with HP could not be determined. However, among those diagnosed by TBLC, 13.4% had HP. TBBx was complicated by moderate to severe bleeding, severe bleeding, and pneumothorax in 4% (95% CI 0-8%), 0% (95% CI 0-1%), and 7% (95% 2-13%) of patients, respectively. TBLC was complicated by any bleeding, severe bleeding, and pneumothorax in 11% (95% CI 7-15%), 0% (95% CI 0-1%), and 11% (95% 9-14%) of patients, respectively. The quality of the evidence was very low due to the uncontrolled study designs, lack of consecutive enrollment, and inconsistent results.

CONCLUSION: Very low quality evidence indicated that TBLC had a higher diagnostic yield than TBBx among patients with ILD, although complications were more common with TBLC.

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ePub ahead of print