Bronchoscopy

  • What is a Bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is a procedure where the inside of the lungs or airways are visualised for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. A bronchoscope(sterile instrument with with video camera) is inserted into the lungs or airways, usually through the nose or mouth, or occasionally through a Tracheostomy. This allows the practitioner to examine the Patient’s lungs or airways for abnormalities such as foreign bodies, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation. Sputum specimens for infection testing may be taken from inside the lungs. The construction of bronchoscopes ranges from rigid metal tubes with attached lighting devices to flexible optical fiber instruments with real time video equipment.

  • Why is a Bronchoscopy done?
  • What happens in Intensive Care?

A bronchoscope. Image found at Google images

Why is a Bronchoscopy done?

Bronchoscopy allows for assessment and evaluation of the upper airway structures. A Bronchoscopy can be either diagnostic or therapeutic;

If a Bronchoscopy is done fo diagnostic purposes it is

  • To view abnormalities of the airway
  • To obtain tissue specimens of the lung in a variety of disorders. Specimens may be taken from inside the lungs by biopsy, bronchoalveolar lavage, or endobronchial brushing.
  • To evaluate a person who has bleeding in the lungs, possible lung cancer, a chronic cough or sarcoidosis

If a Bronchoscopy is done for therapeutic purposes it is

  • To remove secretions, blood, or foreign objects lodged in the lungs or airway
  • Laser resection of tumors or benign tracheal and bronchial stenosis
  • Stent insertion to palliate extrinsic compression of the tracheobronchial lumen from either malignant or benign disease processes
  • Bronchoscopy is also employed in percutaneous Tracheostomy
  • Tracheal Intubation of Patients with difficult airways is often performed using a flexible bronchoscope

 

Images found at WebMD

What happens in Intensive Care?

The bronchoscopy should be explained to your loved one and the family with rationales for the procedure. It also requires your loved ones or your consent. In Intensive Care your loved one will be given sedation(Propofol, Midazolam) and pain relief(Fentanyl) during the procedure so he or she will be asleep and not feel any pain. In Intensive Care a Bronchoscopy most of the time is done on Patients who are already mechanically ventilated on a ventilator(Ventilators/Breathing Machines) and who either already have a Breathing Tube or Endotracheal Tube or a Tracheostomy in place. Through either the Breathing tube or the Tracheostomy, access to the lungs is relatively easy. The bronchoscopy is passed into the tube, and then into the airway/lungs.

During the procedure your loved one is constantly observed and their vital signs are constantly monitored and displayed using Bedside Monitors. Once the bronchoscope with the video camera is inserted into the lungs/airways each part of your loved ones airway is looked at and screened for any abnormalities. If anything abnormal is discovered, they may take a tissue sample using a brush, needle or forceps. This will be sent to the laboratory for diagnosis.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.

References

Belli MA. Critical care extra. Bronchoscopy. American Journal of Nursing. 1999 Jul; 99(7)

Any Questions?

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.

All Intensive Care interventions and procedures carry a degree of potential risk even when performed by skilled and experienced staff. Please discuss these issues with the medical and nursing staff who are caring for your loved one.

The information contained on this page is general in nature and therefore cannot reflect individual patient variation. It is meant as a back up to specific information which will be discussed with you by the Doctors and Nurses caring for your loved one. INTENSIVE CARE HOTLINE attests to the accuracy of the information contained here BUT takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual patient. Please refer to the full disclaimer.

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