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Robotic Bronchoscopy for Pulmonary Biopsy

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Robot-assisted bronchoscopy appears to be safe, feasible, and reliable for diagnosing pulmonary lesions, according to a retrospective study by Udit Chaddha, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and colleagues. The diagnostic yield—the percentage of procedures yielding a diagnosis based on final pathology—ranged from 69% to 77%, higher than the 40% to 70% average of other modern bronchoscopic techniques. The study was published in BMC Pulmonary Medicine.

“Robotic bronchoscopy is going to provide options that are minimally invasive with good outcomes and therapeutic intent,” stated study coauthor Christopher J. Manley, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, in an institutional press release.

In the first study after the market release of robotic bronchoscopy, the researchers reviewed 167 lesions collected from 165 patients in both academic and community centers between June 15 and December 15, 2018. The average lesion size was 25 mm, and the majority (71%) were located in the peripheral third of the lung.

Tissue samples were successfully obtained in 98.8% of lesions. The diagnostic yield was 81.5%, 71.7%, and 26.9% for concentric, eccentric, and absent radial endobronchial ultrasound views, respectively, and it was not affected by lesion size, density, lobar location, or centrality. Pneumothorax and airway bleeding occurred in 3.6% and 2.4% of cases, respectively, and the rates were comparable to those of other bronchoscopy techniques.

“Comparative trials with existing guided bronchoscopy platforms are warranted for determining [the] cost-effectiveness of this technology in diagnosing lung nodules,” concluded the authors.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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