Interstitial lung disease (ILD), also referred to as pulmonary fibrosis, is a condition characterized by the scarring and inflammation of the interstitium. Transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TBLC) is a novel technique used for sampling lung tissue for diagnosis ILD, but its accuracy is not certain. This study aims to assess the diagnostic accuracy of TBLC, as compared with surgical lung biopsy (SLB), in the diagnosis of ILD.

This multicenter, prospective, comparative, diagnostic accuracy study included a total of 65 patients (mean age 66.1 years). TBLC and SLB samples were collected from the two separate ipsilateral lobes of each patient. The primary outcomes of the study were the agreement of histopathological features in TBLC and SLB for patterns of definite or probable usual interstitial pneumonia, alternative diagnosis, and intermediate or usual interstitial pneumonia.

The findings discovered that the histopathological agreement between TBLC and SLB was 70.8%, and diagnostic agreement at multidisciplinary discussion (MDD) was 76.9%. For TBLC with high or definite diagnostic confidence at MDD, 37 were concordant with SLB diagnosis. A commonly occurring adverse event was mild-moderate airway bleeding (22%).

The research concluded that there were high levels of agreement between TBLC and SLB for both MDD diagnosis and histopathological interpretation.