Study Objectives: To assess the short- and long-term effects of balloon dilatation using a fiberoptic bronchoscope in the management of benign tracheobronchial stenosis (TBS). Treatment strategies have included open surgical resection or endoscopic techniques. The endoscopic techniques have included Nd:Yag laser, cryotherapy, stent placement, rigid bronchoscopy, and balloon dilation (BD).
Design: Prospective sequentiality study.
Setting: Tertiary care academic hospital.
Patients: This study consisted of 14 patients, ages ranging from 35 to 72 years, whose symptoms of dyspnea, cough, or wheeze were attributable to a TBS.
Intervention: This study describes the use of flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FFB) with a balloon catheter for airway dilation. Each patient underwent FFB, in which a balloon catheter was threaded over the guidewire and positioned across the stenosis. Under direct visualization, the balloon was inflated for 30 to 120 s. Repeat inflation-deflation cycles were done if airway narrowing remained after the initial attempt.
Results: Seven patients had TBS following lung transplantation, three after sleeve resection, two following irradiation therapy, and two due to fibrosing mediastinitis. All patients had initial success: increased airway dimensions and symptom relief. Ten patients had successful airway dilation after one session. Of the four patients who required multiple sessions, one had cryotherapy and in each of the others an airway stent was placed.
Conclusions: BD offers immediate symptom relief and can be used in conjunction with Nd:Yag laser, cryotherapy, stent placement, or mechanical dilation with a rigid bronchoscope. The advantages of FFB with BD include operator familiarity, patient safety, and avoidance of general anesthesia.