Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Diagnostic Bronchoscopy

Common reasons to perform a bronchoscopy for diagnosis are:
  • Lung growth, lymph node, atelectasis, or other changes seen on an x-ray or other imaging test
  • Suspected interstitial lung disease
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Possible foreign object in the airway
  • Cough that has lasted more than 3 months without any other explanation
  • Infections in the lungs and bronchi that cannot be diagnosed any other way or need a certain type of diagnosis
  • Inhaled toxic gas or chemical
  • To diagnose a lung rejection after a lung transplant
You may also have a bronchoscopy to treat a lung or airway problem, such as to:
  • Remove fluid or mucus plugs from your airways
  • Remove a foreign object from your airways
  • Widen (dilate) an airway that is blocked or narrowed
  • Drain an abscess
  • Treat cancer using a number of different techniques
  • Wash out an airway (therapeutic lavage)

The main risks from bronchoscopy are:
  • Bleeding from biopsy sites
  • Infection
There is also a small risk of:
  • Arrhythmias
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fever
  • Heart attack, in people with existing heart disease
  • Low blood oxygen
  • Pneumothorax
  • Sore throat
In the rare instances when general anesthesia is used, there is some risk for:
  • Muscle pain
  • Change in blood pressure
  • Slower heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
There is a small risk for:
  • Heart attack
When a biopsy is taken, there is a risk of severe bleeding (hemorrhage). Some bleeding is common. The technician or nurse will monitor the amount of bleeding.
There is a risk of choking if anything (including water) is swallowed before the numbing medicine wears off.

Here is a 7 minute video on diagnostic bronchoscopy.  It shows a tumour being biopsied.  This video is shown to my patients before consent for the procedure is taken.

Warning:  Do not view if you are afraid of blood.

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