Complications of bronchoscopy in a major teaching centre.

Title: Complications of bronchoscopy in a major teaching centre.
Author(s): W.Mahmood U.Khan O.Rahman MK.Rana A.O'Brien
Institution: University Hospital Limerick.
Poster: Click to view poster
Category: General Respiratory and Sleep
Abstract: Abstract


To evaluate the frequency of complications associated with flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy in a teaching center.


It is a retrospective study. 500 patients underwent flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy with different pulmonary pathologies at University hospital Limerick in the last 6 months. There were 227 females and 273 males and the mean age 55+/- 11. These bronchoscopies included 95 transbronchial biopsies (TBBx) (19%), 113 transbronchial needle aspirations (TBNA) (22.6%), 281 bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) (56.2%), 29 Brushings (5.8%), 21 trans-tracheal biopsies (4.2%). All the procedures involved were carried out using flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy.

There were total 13 patients who suffered bronchoscopic complications (2.8%). The incidence of major complications secondary to transbronchial biopsy was 8 (1.6%), (including 6 pneumothoraces (1.2%) , and 2 with significant bleeding (0.4%)), 5 patient had complications secondary to endobronchial biopsies (0.8%)( 3 pneumothoraces (0.6%), 2 with significant bleeding (0.4%)). Only 3 of the patients with pneumothoraces needed chest drain placement, the remainder were managed conservatively; bleeding complications were treated with cold saline +/- adrenaline during the procedure. All the patients who suffered pneumothoraces required hospital admission, duration of stay was 2 (+/-1) days and the mortality rate was 0%.


This study shows that bronchoscopy is a safe method with low to moderate incidence of complications and mortality. We believe that the preparation, experience and continuous training of the trainees and nursing team play a fundamental role in reducing the incidence of complications.