What is bronchoscopy?
Bronchoscopy is a diagnostic test that is performed by the doctor using a specific tool, the bronchoscope, which is introduced through the mouth or nose of the patient. It can be performed under sedation or local anaesthesia and sedation (simultaneously).
What is the purpose of bronchoscopy?
Bronchoscopy is frequently used for diagnostic purposes (endobronchial tumours, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung disease, lung infections) through some application methods (trans-bronchial biopsies, fine needle aspiration, bronchial aspirates, wash bronchiole alveolar). It can be used also for the removal of foreign bodies accidentally inhaled or for other operational procedures.
For the patient, before performing a bronchoscopy it is necessary to fast for at least three hours prior to the examination, if the examination is performed under local anaesthesia. If the examination is performed under sedation, the doctor will instruct the patient with the necessary information. Patients taking medications should consult their doctor for possible suspension.
Which patients can undergo the exam?
Patients suffering from blood coagulation disorders, cardiac arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease or failure, risks associated with invasiveness, albeit slight, should undergo the bronchoscopy examination only after expert evaluation.
In addition, patients suffering from bronchial asthma should not undergo the examination if there is an ongoing crisis due to bronchoconstriction or bronchospasm. Even those who had problems with tracheal stenosis, respiratory failure or high pulmonary pressure should be submitted for consideration only in cases of extreme necessity.
Is the exam painful or dangerous?
In most cases bronchoscopy presents no side effects, apart from a slight discomfort due to the passage of the instrument through the throat. In any case, the examination is followed by an observation period of two hours, to verify that the patient has no respiratory problems or minor bleeding due to the examination. The anaesthetic may result, in the following hours with, dry mouth, slowed reflexes and drowsiness.
How is the exam performed?
The patient is prepared 30 minutes before the examination. The patient must remove glasses, necklaces, jewellery and hearing aids, as these can interfere with the course of the examination. Afterwards the patient is administered an anaesthetic and intravenous catheter, in case it is necessary to administer medicine during the procedure. Then it enters the bronchoscope, which passes gently to the airways. Upon examination, the patient is monitored for about two hours, to make sure that no complications have arisen.