What is Bronchoscopy ?

Bronchoscopy is an invasive but very safe procedure that helps a pulmonologist definitively see inside a patient’s airways which lead into their lungs. This procedure is extremely helpful in finding any abnormality that may be the cause of difficulty in breathing and respiratory distress.


When should a bronchoscopy be performed?

Bronchoscopy is performed when additional information is needed to diagnose the exact cause of multiple illnesses including infection, presence of any growth, tumor, mass or bleeding inside a patient’s airways or their lungs.

Bronchoalveolar lavage or a sampling of the secretions within these air passages can be sent for further analysis which aids in making an accurate diagnosis. At the time the procedure is done, a tissue sample known as a biopsy can also be taken for any lesion/mass/tumor and this can be sent to the laboratory or pathologist for investigation.

Bronchoscopy also has therapeutic indications which means that it can be used to provide definitive treatment in a variety of problems which lead to difficulty in breathing such as removal of mucous or foreign bodies that may be lodged in the air passages and become the reason for difficulty in breathing. Similarly, areas of pathological or abnormal bleeding within the airways can also be identified and treated by way of bronchoscopy.


How do I prepare for a bronchoscopy?

When you visit our clinic, and once our doctor has evaluated you and determined that you need a bronchoscopy, our skilled team will explain the method and steps of the procedure. We will also address and answer any additional questions, concerns or anxiety you may have about the procedure.

Ordinarily, we ask that you not take any form of food or drink for at least 4 hours before the procedure. You may be asked to stop blood thinners a few days prior to the date of the procedure. At the time of the procedure, you will be asked to remove any false teeth or dentures and any metal jewelry that you might be wearing.


How is bronchoscopy performed?

Bronchoscopy requires specialized training, skill and experience and should be performed by an experienced and well-trained pulmonologist, who is assisted by a team of trained nurses and technicians.

For an outpatient, the procedure is done as a day care procedure, which requires only few hours of hospitalization. Unless a patient is already admitted to the hospital for other reasons, the patient should be able to comfortably return home within a few hours. Our patient is given a pre-procedure list to prepare before hospital admission. The procedure is explained to the patient in detail, including all risks and benefits, and the patient is asked a consent form that signifies that the patient would like our specialized pulmonary team to proceed with the procedure under a monitored and safe environment. Once a patient is gently sedated a fiberoptic endoscopic tube is used, which is either passed through the nostrils or by mouth into the deeper airways. Throughout the procedure the patients’ vital signs are monitored and every care is taken to keep the patient comfortable and pain free. After the procedure, a patient remains under observation for vital checks until the effect of any sedation used has worn. Once stable and fully awake the patient can be discharged and sent home. Bronchoscopy can be done for outpatient as well as hospitalized patients.


Is the procedure painful?

The procedure for some patients may be slightly uncomfortable but it not painful. Any discomfort is managed through light sedation.

Would I be sedated even if I have had an allergy to sedatives or anesthesia?

Please inform your doctor if you have any prior history of allergies to any medications or anesthesia related complications. Your doctor is experienced in handling this concern.


Should I expect any side effects after the procedure?

You may experience a mild cough, fever, throat irritation and hoarseness of voice. These symptoms last a short while and gradually subside without the need for any treatment. Some patients experience some mild side effects due to sedation side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and low blood pressure. These are all managed by the doctor and their team.


Can I require bronchoscopy more than once?

In some illnesses, a bronchoscopy may need to be repeated after some time; this may be the case in conditions such as mucous plugging which is a recurrent phenomenon, recurrent chest infections and recurrence of tumor. Your chest specialist will determine if there is a need for repeat bronchoscopy


Are there any serious complications?

No procedure is without risks or complications. There are few complications, but these are rarely seen in the hands of well trained and experienced pulmonologist. In the rare case that complications do occur there may be a temporary increase in the requirement for oxygen, bleeding especially from the biopsy site, an air leak (pneumothorax) and sometimes abnormal heart rhythms in patients with known heart disease. Each one of these rare complications is fully and manageable, ensuring the safety of the patient.


What if I need a bronchoscopy?

Should you or anyone you know require a bronchoscopy, please contact The Chest Clinic-Dr. Javed Husain & Associates. Dr. Javed Husain is the lead pulmonologist & critical care intensivist at The Chest Clinic in Karachi. Dr. Javed Husain is a US trained and United States Board Certified specialist in Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. He has over 20 years of experience dealing with patients with bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, lung infections, lung cancers and all types of chest and lung diseases. Dr. Javed is licensed to practice as a chest specialist both in the United States as well as in Pakistan. If you or anyone you know needs a bronchoscopy within a safe and skilled environment, please call The Chest Clinic for an appointment to see Dr. Javed Husain. Both in person and online consultations are possible by calling +92301 8479066 to set up an appointment. At The Chest Clinic we understand the value of expert, timely, ethical and compassionate care and strive to provide the highest quality care to every patient, every single time.