Bronchoscopy is really a process when a hollow, versatile tube known as a bronchoscope is placed to the airways with the nose or mouth use a view from the tracheobronchial tree. It is also accustomed to accumulate bronchial and/or lung secretions and also to carry out tissue biopsy.

Who performs the process and where could it be carried out?

The exam is generally carried out inside a hospital or clinic with a pulmonologist, patient’s physician focusing on diseases from the lungs. Nursing staff supports by giving education, monitoring the individual, and conducting tests, including checking blood pressure level, pulse, and respiratory rate before the patient's discharge.


The individual should fast for six to Twelve hours before the process and avoid drinking any liquids till the time of the process. Smoking ought to be avoided every day and night before the process and patient also needs to avoid taking any aspirin or ibuprofen-type medicines. The bronchoscopy itself takes about 45-60 minutes. Before the bronchoscopy, several tests are often done, including a chest x-ray and blood work. Sometimes a bronchoscopy is performed under general anesthesia, whereby the individual may have an intravenous line within the arm. Additionally, the process is carried out under local anesthesia that is sprayed to the nose or mouth. This really is essential to hinder the gag reflex. A sedative may also get. A signed consent form is essential with this process.


Throughout a bronchoscopy, problems can successfully analyze the low airways, such as the larynx, trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles. The process is accustomed to examine the mucosal top of the airways for irregularities that could be of a number of lung diseases. Its use might be diagnostic or therapeutic. Bronchoscopy enables to analyze and help diagnose:

  • suspected tumor, obstruction, secretion, bleeding, or foreign body within the airways
  • diseases from the lung, for example cancer or tuberculosis
  • persistent cough, or hemoptysis, which includes blood within the sputum
  • congenital disability from the lungs
  • airway irregularities, for example tracheal stenosis

Bronchoscopy could also be used for an additional therapeutic uses:

  • to take out excessive secretions
  • to take out an overseas body within the lungs

Bronchoscopy may also be used to gather the next biopsy specimens:

  • cells accumulated from washing the liner from the bronchi or bronchioles
  • sputum
  • tissue samples in the bronchi or bronchioles

When the reason for the bronchoscopy would be to take tissue samples or biopsy, a forceps or bronchial brush are utilized to obtain cells. On the other hand, when the purpose would be to determine a contagious agent, a bronchoalveolar lavage can be carried out to collect fluid for culture purposes. If any foreign matter can be found in the airways, it may be taken out too. The device utilized in bronchoscopy, a bronchoscope, is really a slender, bendable tube under 2.5 cm wide and approximately 0.3 m long that utilizes fiber-optic technology. There are two kinds of bronchoscopes, a typical tube that's more firm along with a fiber-optic tube that's more flexible. The rigid device doesn't bend, doesn't see as far into the lungs since the bendable one, and could carry a larger risk of causing problems for nearby structures. Since it may cause more soreness compared to bendable bronchoscope, it generally needs general anesthesia. However, it is important to take large examples of tissue as well as for taking away foreign bodies in the airways. Throughout the process, the airway isn't obstructed since oxygen could be supplied with the bronchoscope.


Bronchoscopy is generally carried out within an endoscopy room, but can also be carried out near the bedside. The individual is positioned on his back or sits upright. A pulmonologist, an expert educated to perform the process, sprays an anesthetic to the patient's mouth or throat. When anesthesia has had effect and also the area is numb, the bronchoscope is placed to the patient's mouth and handed to the throat. When the bronchoscope is handed with the nose, an anesthetic jelly is placed into one nostril. As the bronchoscope is moving down the throat, additional anesthetic is put in the bronchoscope to anesthetize the low airways. Problems observe the trachea, bronchi, and also the mucosal lining of those passageways searching for any irregularities which may be present. If samples are essential, a bronchial lavage might be executed, and therefore a saline option would be brought to flush the region just before collecting cells for laboratory analysis. Really small brushes, needles, or forceps can also be introduced with the bronchoscope to gather tissue samples in the lungs.

Questions a patient should ask a doctor

  • Are there any risks linked to the process?
  • How long will the exam last?
  • What may happen throughout the procedure?
  • Will it hurt?
  • How many bronchoscopies would you perform every year?

Morbidity and mortality rates

Bronchoscopy is one of the numbers of methods related to highest inpatient mortality having a 12.7% mortality rate.


Technique bronchoscope slightly irritates the liner from the airways, leading to some swelling and inflammation, in addition to hoarseness brought about from abrading the vocal cords. If the abrasion is much more serious, it can result in respiratory problems or bleeding from the lining from the airways. The bronchoscopy process can also be of a small risk of disordered heart rhythm, cardiac arrest, low blood oxygen, and pneumothorax. These risks are greater by using a rigid bronchoscope compared to a fiber-optic bronchoscope. If patient’s firm tube can be used, there's also a risk of chipped teeth. The chance of transmitting infectious disease in one patient to a different through the bronchoscope can also be present. There's also a risk of infection from endoscopes improperly reprocessed through the automated endoscope reprocessing (AER) system. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported cases of patient-to-patient transmission of infections following bronchoscopic methods using bronchoscopes which were improperly reprocessed by AERs. Investigation from the incidents exposed inconsistencies between reprocessing instructions supplied by the maker from the bronchoscope and also the manufacturer from the AER; or how the bronchoscopes were improperly reprocessed.

Normal results

When the outcomes of the bronchoscopy are normal, the windpipe called trachea looks like smooth muscle with C-shaped rings of cartilage at regular intervals. There aren't any irregularities in both the trachea or perhaps in the bronchi from the lungs. Bronchoscopy results could also confirm a suspected diagnosis. This might include swelling, ulceration, or disability within the bronchial wall, for example inflammation, stenosis, or compression from the trachea, neoplasm, and foreign bodies. The bronchoscopy could also show the existence of a typical substance within the trachea and bronchi. If samples are taken, the outcomes could show cancer, disease-causing agents, or other lung diseases. Other findings can sometimes include constriction or narrowing, compression, dilation of vessels, or irregular branching from the bronchi. Irregular substances that could be based in the airways consist of blood, secretions, or mucous plugs.


Following the bronchoscopy, the essential signs like heartbeat, blood pressure level, and breathing are supervised. Sometimes patients come with an irregular reaction to anesthesia. Any sputum ought to be collected within an emesis basin in order that it could be analyzed for that existence of blood. If patient’s biopsy was taken, the individual shouldn't cough or pay off the throat because this might disengage any blood clot which has created and result in bleeding. No food or drink ought to be consumed for around 2 hours following the procedure or before anesthesia wears off. There's a significant risk for choking contrary including water is ingested prior to the anesthetic wears off, and also the gag reflex has returned. To try when the gag reflex has returned, a spoon is positioned about the back from the tongue for some seconds with light pressure. When there is no gagging, the operation is repeated after Quarter-hour. The gag reflex should return in one to two hours. Ice chips or clear liquids ought to be taken prior to the patient tries to eat solid food. Patients are well informed any time the anesthetic wears from the throat might be irritated for a few days. Patients should inform their doctor when they develop these symptoms:

  • fever, with or without difficulty in breathing
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath, wheezing, or any problem breathing
  • hemoptysis


Based upon the objective of the bronchoscopy, alternatives can sometimes include a chest x-ray or perhaps a computed tomography (CT) scan. When the objective would be to obtain biopsy specimen, one choice to do surgery, which bear greater risks. An alternative choice is percutaneous biopsy led by CT.

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