Holmium:YAG laser bronchoscopy ablation of benign and malignant airway obstructions: An 8-year experience

John J. Squiers, William A. Teeter, John E. Hoopman, Kristy Piepenbrok, Richard Wagner, Robert Ferguson, Alykhan S. Nagji, Matthias Peltz, Michael A. Wait, J. Michael DiMaio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Patients suffering from severe tracheobronchial obstruction are vulnerable to dyspnea, respiratory failure, obstructive pneumonia, and death. Treatment with a holmium:YAG laser, an alternative to the neodymium:YAG laser, may provide symptomatic relief. This is the largest case series to date describing the application of the holmium:YAG laser via bronchoscopy for benign and malignant obstructive disease. The data were retrospectively collected from 99 patients, with either benign or malignant tracheobronchial obstruction, who underwent 261 interventional bronchoscopy procedures in the operating room with laser ablation between January 2004 and November 2011. Categorical variables were analyzed with the chi-square and Fisher's exact tests as appropriate in contingency tables, whereas Student's t-test was performed for comparison of continuous variables. Patient follow-up was concluded on September 15, 2013. The holmium:YAG laser was used in 261 procedures performed on 99 patients with either benign or malignant disease. Symptomatic improvement was demonstrated in 90 % of all benign etiology cases and 77 % of all malignant etiology cases. Within the benign and malignant subgroups, improvement was dependent on anatomical location rather than etiology of the lesion. Complications occurred in 2.3 % of the procedures, with mortality in less than 1 % of procedures. Results confirm the usefulness and safety of the holmium:YAG laser in the treatment of patients with severe benign and malignant obstructive tracheobronchial obstructions. The holmium:YAG laser is an appealing alternative to the neodymium:YAG laser.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1437-1443
Number of pages7
JournalLasers in Medical Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Airway obstructions
  • Benign
  • Holmium:YAG
  • Laser bronchoscopy ablation
  • Malignant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology

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    Squiers, J. J., Teeter, W. A., Hoopman, J. E., Piepenbrok, K., Wagner, R., Ferguson, R., Nagji, A. S., Peltz, M., Wait, M. A., & DiMaio, J. M. (2014). Holmium:YAG laser bronchoscopy ablation of benign and malignant airway obstructions: An 8-year experience. Lasers in Medical Science, 29(4), 1437-1443. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10103-014-1536-1