Bronchoscopy (cont.)

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What can a patient expect after a bronchoscopy?

Patients are taken to an observation area for monitoring for one to two hours until any medication given adequately wears off and patients are able to swallow safely. A family member or a friend must take the patient home after the outpatient procedure. Patients are not allowed to drive or operate heavy machinery for the rest of the day because their reflexes and judgment may be impaired. Some patients may cough up dark-brown blood for the next one to two days after the procedure. This is expected and should not be alarming. However, if there is persistent bright red blood in the sputum, the doctor must be consulted immediately. A follow-up visit with the doctor is scheduled to review the laboratory results, which are typically available within one week.

What's new in bronchoscopy?

The bronchoscope is now being used with lasers to help remove and destroy tumor in the lungs. Sometimes, probes can be passed through the scope to freeze bleeding sites or to shrink tumors. Some newer technologies are on the horizon and may play a future role in the management of asthma and emphysema. There is data to suggest that warming the linings of the airways can reduce asthma attacks. Studies are also now underway investigating one-way valves placed in the upper lobe airways in patients with emphysema. The hope is that this investigational therapy will simulate the benefits seen in emphysema patients that receive lung volume reduction surgery.

Medically reviewed by James E Gerace, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Pulmonary Disease


"What is bronchoscopy"
National Institutes of Health; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/14/2015