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Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2015 Dec;8(4):396-401. doi: 10.3342/ceo.2015.8.4.396. Epub 2015 Nov 10.

Usefulness of Rigid Bronchoscopic Intervention Using Argon Plasma Coagulation for Central Airway Tumors.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.



Argon plasma coagulation (APC) is a noncontact form of electrocautery that utilizes ionized argon as the electrical current. A rigid bronchoscopic use of APC for the management of central airway obstruction could be safe and rapidly effective. This study evaluated the usefulness of rigid bronchoscopy with APC for the management of central airway obstructions due to benign or malignant tumors.


Twenty patients with obstructing central airway tumors were retrospectively reviewed from February 2008 to February 2013 at Chonnam National University Hospital. All patients received rigid bronchoscopic tumor removal under general anesthesia. APC was applied before and after tumor removal.


The median age of patients was 59 years (interquartile range [IQR], 51 to 67 years) and 70% were female. The causes of airway obstruction included malignancy (n=8) and benign tumor (n=12). Airway tumors comprised intraluminal lesions (n=11, 55%) and mixed intraluminal/extraluminal lesions (n=9, 45%). The median tumor size was 15 mm (IQR, 10 to 18 mm). The median degree of airway obstruction was significantly reduced after intervention (90% [IQR, 88% to 96%] vs. 10% [IQR, 0% to 20%], P<0.001). The median American Thoracic Society dyspnea grade (3 [IQR, 1 to 4] vs. 1 [IQR, 0 to 1], P<0.001) and forced expiratory volume in one second (1.03 L [IQR, 0.52 to 1.36 L] vs. 1.98 L [IQR, 1.57 to 2.64 L], P=0.004) were significantly improved after intervention. There were no procedure-related acute complications and deaths.


Rigid bronchoscopy with APC is an effective and safe procedure to alleviate central airway obstruction caused by tumors.


Airway Obstruction; Argon Plasma Coagulation; Bronchoscopy

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