What is Bronchoscopy?

Bronchoscopy is a medical test to look at the airways and detect lung disease. This test can be performed in the same way during the treatment of some pulmonary problems.

What does it consist of?

The device called a bronchoscope is a tube 1 centimeter in diameter and about 60 centimeters long. The bronchoscope can be flexible or rigid, but the most commonly used is the flexible one. The device in question is introduced through the mouth or nose, the trachea and finally reaches the lungs. By introducing it, the upper airways can be examined. On the other hand, if the bronchoscope is inserted through the mouth, a larger bronchoscope can be used to explore the areas in question.

Through bronchoscopy the upper airways can be observed.

Why is it performed?

Bronchoscopy is performed to help diagnose lung problems in the patient. The specialist will be able to study the airways or even take a sample for further investigation. The following is a list of reasons why bronchoscopy is performed:

  • Imaging to study tumors, lung tissue or collapse of an area of the lung.
  • To test the lymph nodes near the lungs.
  • To see the reasons why the patient is coughing up blood.
  • To find the reasons for shortness of breath or low oxygen level.
  • To explore the airways and check if they are blocked by an object.
  • To look for possible infections in the lungs and bronchi.
  • To check for rejection after a lung transplant.

Preparation for Bronchoscopy

The duration of the medical examination is usually 30 minutes. But the time depends ultimately on the specialist, in some occasions it may take some test to perform a biopsy, or find complications during the process. Depending on the type of bronchoscopy may require hospital admission, in particular rigid bronchoscopy. It is advisable to be accompanied to the bronchoscopy, since sedation is used. And on returning home it is necessary to be accompanied. It is also advisable to go to the bronchoscopy without eating or drinking for 8 to 10 hours beforehand.

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How do you feel during the test?

At the beginning of the test, and until the local anesthesia takes effect, the patient may feel coughing or gagging, due to the liquid going down the throat. The patient may feel pressure or tugging as the medical device enters the throat. Choking or the inability to breathe may also be felt. There is no risk of this happening to you, as the soothing medications will help you and you will not remember any discomfort caused by the pain. Finally, when the anesthesia wears off, your throat may feel scratchy for a few days. After the test, you will not be allowed to eat or drink anything.

What abnormal results mean

A bronchoscopy may diagnose the following conditions: Infections from bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, or tuberculosis. Lung damage related to allergic reactions. Lung diseases, in which the inner tissues of the lung become inflamed and damaged. Cancer in the area between the lungs and lung cancer. Stenosis (narrowing) of the trachea or bronchi, including severe rejection after lung transplantation.