Microwave Ablation for Malignant Central Airway Obstruction: A Pilot Study

Academic Article


  • Background: Malignant central airway obstruction (CAO) is a debilitating complication of primary lung cancer and pulmonary metastases. Therapeutic bronchoscopy is used to palliate symptoms and/or bridge to further therapy. Microwave ablation (MWA) heats tissue by creating an electromagnetic field around an ablation device. We present a pilot study utilizing endobronchial MWA via flexible bronchoscopy as a novel modality for the management of malignant CAO. Methods: Therapeutic bronchoscopy with a flexible MWA probe was performed in 8 cases. We reviewed tumor size, previous ablative techniques, number of applications, ablation time, amount of energy delivered, rate of successful recanalization, complications, and 30-day follow-up. Results: Successful airway recanalization was achieved in all cases. No complications were noted. In 1 case, tumor in-growth within a silicone stent was ablated with no damage to the stent. Discussion: Endobronchial MWA is a novel technique for tumor destruction while maintaining an airway axis. The oven effect and air gap around a tumor allow for safe and effective tissue devitalization and hemostasis without a thermal effect on structures surrounding the airway.
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    Author List

  • Senitko M; Oberg CL; Abraham GE; Hillegass WB; Akhtar I; Folch E