Bronchoscopy, Here's What You Should Know

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Bronchoscopy, Here's What You Should Know
Bronchoscopy, Here's What You Should Know

Bronchoscopy is a procedure to examine the respiratory tract and lungs with an instrument called a bronchoscope. This procedure is performed to diagnose or treat a number of disorders of the respiratory tract and lungs

A bronchoscope is a tube equipped with a light and a camera at the end. This hose has a width of 1 cm and a length of 60 cm. Generally, bronchoscopy uses a flexible bronchoscope. However, in some cases, the doctor may use a rigid bronchoscope.

Bronchoscopy, Here's What You Should Know - Alodokter

Indications of Bronchoscopy

Doctors can perform bronchoscopy with the following objectives:

  • Detects infections in the lungs that cannot be diagnosed by other examination methods
  • Checking for diseases or blockages in the lungs or respiratory tract before the lungs
  • Conducting tissue sampling (biopsy) on the lungs, for example when lung cancer is suspected
  • Find out the cause of coughing up blood, shortness of breath, low blood oxygen levels, and a cough that lasts more than 3 months for no apparent reason, for example in tuberculosis
  • Confirming whether rejection occurs after a lung transplant
  • Ensure abnormal imaging results of the lungs

Bronchoscopy Alert

Inform your doctor of all medicines, supplements and herbal products you are currently taking. It is feared that the use of certain drugs or supplements could interfere with the smooth operation of the procedure or affect the results of the examination.

In addition, tell the doctor if you are suffering from certain diseases or are undergoing therapy or medication.

Before Bronchoscopy

There are several things that patients need to know before undergoing a bronchoscopy, namely:

  • Patients need to remove dentures, glasses, contact lenses or hearing aids before undergoing bronchoscopy.
  • Patients need to stop taking blood thinning drugs, such as warfarin and clopidogrel, a week before undergoing bronchoscopy.
  • Patients need to fast 6–12 hours before undergoing bronchoscopy.
  • Patients need to invite someone to take them home and accompany them during the rest period after the bronchoscopy is finished.

Bronchoscopy Procedure

Before the bronchoscopy begins, the doctor will perform the following actions:

  • Ask the patient to sit or lie on his back with his hands on his side
  • Connecting the patient to a monitor so that the patient's heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level can always be monitored during the procedure
  • Inject a sedative to relax the patient or general anesthesia if the doctor uses a rigid bronchoscope
  • Spraying anesthetic into the patient's mouth and throat to numb the mouth and throat
  • Applying anesthetic in the form of a gel to the patient's nose if the bronchoscope is to be inserted through the nose

Bronchoscopy is started after the anesthetic has taken effect. The doctor's first step is to insert the bronchoscope into the patient's nose or mouth. After that, the bronchoscope will be slowly pushed up to the lungs. This process is painless, but the patient may experience some discomfort.

As long as the bronchoscope is pushed in, the doctor will see the condition of the respiratory tract through the monitor screen. Depending on the patient's condition, the doctor's next action may be:

  • Rinsing the lungs using saline solution, then taking them back to check for abnormal cells, bacteria, mucus, or foreign objects that may be present in them
  • Take a sample of tissue or tumor in the lung
  • Installing a stent with the help of ultrasound in the respiratory tract to widen the respiratory tract
  • Removing mucus, pus, or foreign objects that clog the lungs
  • Treatment of active bleeding in the lungs, collapsed lung (pneumothorax), or tumors in the lungs

The entire bronchoscopy procedure, including preparation and recovery from anesthesia, can take about 4 hours. However, the bronchoscopy procedure itself only lasts about 30–60 minutes.

After Bronchoscopy

The doctor will monitor the patient's condition for several hours after the bronchoscopy, to make sure the patient does not experience complications.

It is important to remember that the patient's mouth and throat will remain numb for several hours after the bronchoscopy. To prevent food and drink from entering the lungs, the patient is not allowed to eat and drink until the effects of the anesthetic wear off.

Patients may also experience a sore throat, hoarseness, or cough, but these complaints are normal after bronchoscopy. To relieve it, patients can drink warm water and consume lozenges after the mouth and throat are no longer numb.

The doctor will explain the bronchoscopy results to the patient 1-3 days after the procedure. The results of bronchoscopy can be said to be normal if the cells and fluid taken are normal, or there are no obstructions, abnormal tissue, or foreign bodies in the respiratory tract.

On the other hand, bronchoscopy results are abnormal if the following conditions are found:

  • Tuberculosis infection
  • Bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infections
  • Narrowing of the respiratory tract
  • Damage related to allergic reactions
  • Disorders or inflammation of the lung tissue
  • Tissue tumor or cancer in the lungs or in the area around the lungs
  • Reaction of rejection after lung transplant

The results will help the doctor determine the treatment or further examination that the patient should undergo.

Bronchoscopy Risks

Bronchoscopy is generally safe, but carries risks. In some cases, this procedure can cause:

  • Fever
  • Pneumonia
  • Bleeding in the lungs due to biopsy
  • Lung collapse due to injury during bronchoscopy

Immediately check with a doctor if you experience the following complaints after bronchoscopy:

  • Fever more than a day
  • Shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • Coughing up blood

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