Introduction: Causes of laser therapy include airway obstruction with atelectasis, abscesses, distal pneumonia, uncontrollable cough, dyspnea or hemoptysis, especially, when a patient refuses other therapeutic methods or other methods are not effective immediately.
Methods: Data regarding patients who had undergone laser therapy with bronchoscopy in the past 25 years, in pulmonology ward of Imam Reza Hospital, Tabriz, Iran, were gathered. Causes of laser therapy and the results of the treatment along with complications were recorded. Holmium, Nd:YAG or APC was implemented.
Results: There were 281 patients (63.8%) with benign lesions, while patients with malignant lesions included 159 cases (36.2%). Tracheal stenosis was the most frequent benign lesion (233 cases, 53%), whereas squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was the most frequent amongst malignant ones (66 cases, 15%). Altogether, patients underwent laser therapy for 1190 times. The mean of treatment sessions for each patient was 2.90 times. Recanalization, as an outcome of the treatment, was higher in benign cases. In 221 patients (78.82%) with benign lesions, 50% recanalization was achieved, while in malignant cases, only in 39 patients (24.13%) 50% recanalization happened.
Conclusion: Patients were mostly treated for benign lesions, with tracheal stenosis being the most frequent case. Laser therapy was shown to be a safe method for treating airway obstruction, with very low complications, independent from the type of the lesion. However, it was more efficient in treating benign lesions than malignant ones. Type of the lesion (i.e., benign or malignant) was the main factor for treatment response, in this study.
Key words: Laser therapy, Recanalization, Benign, Malignant, Tracheal stenosis.