Bronchoscopy is of two types:
1. Rigid .
2. Flexible fibre optic.
[ . To find out the cause for wheezing, haemoptysis,
or unexp lained cough persisting for more than
2. When X- ray chest sho ws:
(a) Atelectasis of a segment, lobe or entire lung
(b) Opacity localised to a segment or lobe of lung
(c) Obstructive emphysema-to exclude foreign body
(d) Hilar or mediastinal shadows
3. Vocal cord palsy.
4. Collection of bronchial secretions for culture and
sensitivi ty tests, acid fas t bacilli, fun gus, malignant
1. Removal of foreign bod ies.
2. Removal of retained secretions or mucus plug in
cases of head injuries, chest trauma, thoracic or
abdomi nal surge ry, or comatosed patients.
General anaesthesia with no endotracheal tube or with
only a small bore catheter is often preferred. It can also
be done under topical surface anaesthes ia.
Same as fordirect laryngoscopy.
There are two methods to in trod uce bronc hoscope:
1. Direct method. Here bronchoscope is introduced
directly through the glottis.
2. Through laryngoscope. Here glo ttis is first exposed
with the help of a spatular type laryngoscope and
then the bronchoscope is introduced through the
laryngoscope into the trachea. Laryngoscope is then
withdrawn. This me thod is useful in infan ts and
young children, and in ad ults who have short neck
and thick tongue.
Details of Technique
l. A piece of ga uze is placed on the upper teeth for the ir
protect ion aga inst injury.
2. Proper-sized bronchoscope is lu bricated with a swab
of autoclaved liquid paraffin or gelly. It is held by the shaft
in surgeon's right hand in a pen- like fashion. Fingers of
the left hand are used to retract the upper lip and guide
3. Now looking through the scope, tip of epiglottis is
identified first and the scope passed behind it and the
epiglottis lifted forward to expose the glottiS. Now bronchoscope
is rotated 90° clockwise so that its bevelled tip
is in the axis of glottis to ease its entry into the trachea.
Once trachea is entered, scope is rotated back to the original
4. Bronchoscope is grad ually advanced and the entire
tracheobronchial tree examined. Axis of bronchoscope
should be made to correspond with axes of the trachea
and bronchi. To ac hieve this, head and neck are flexed
to the left when examining the right bronchial tree and
Openi ngs of all the segmental bronchi in both the
lungs are examined seriatim.
5. Direct vision, right angled and retrograde telescopes
can be used for magnification and detailed examination.
6. Biopsy of the les ion of susp icious area can be taken.
7. Secretions can be collected for exfoliative cytology,
or bacteriologic examination.
1. Keep the patient in humid atmosphere.
2. Watch for respiratory distress. This could be due to
laryngeal spasm or subglottic oedema if the proced ure
had been unduly prolonged or the bronchoscope
introduced repeatedly. Inspiratory stridor and suprasternal
retraction will ind icate need for tracheostomy.
1. Injury to teeth and li ps.
2. Haemorrhage from the biopsy site.
3. Hypox ia and cardiac arrest.
4. Laryngeal oedema.
Precautions During Bronchoscopy
l. Select proper size of bronchoscope according to
patient's age (see Table A 1).
2. Do not force bronchoscope thro ugh closed glott is.
3. Repeated removal and introduction of bronchoscope
should be avoided.
4. Procedure shou ld not be prolonged beyond 20 minutes
in infants and children, otherwise it may cause
subglottic oedema in pos t-operati ve period.
FLEXIBLE FIBRE OPTIC BRONCHOSCOPY
These days, flexible fibre optic bronchoscopy has
replaced rigid bronchoscopy for diagnostic procedures
particularly in adults. It provides magnification and better
illumination, and because of the smaller size, permits
examination of subsegmental bronchi. It is also easy to
use ll1 patients with neck or jaw abnormalities where rigid
bronchoscopy may almost be impossible technically.
This procedure can be performed under topical anaesthesia
and is very useful for bedside examination of the critically
ill patients. The suction/biopsy channel provided
in the fibrescope helps to remove secretions, inspissated
plugs of mucus or even small foreign bodies. Flexible
bronchoscope can also be easily passed through endotracheal
tube or the tracheostomy opening. However, it has
limited utiltty in children because of the problems of