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Diagnostic Bronchoscopy

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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Why would I need a diagnostic bronchoscopy?

 A diagnostic bronchoscopy can be used to help identify why you are experiencing a variety of symptoms or to diagnose certain conditions.

They might investigate:

  • Why you have a persistent cough
  • Unusual results from a chest x-ray
  • Why you might be coughing up blood
  • Changes or difficulties with your breathing
  • If there is a foreign object in your airway

They also can diagnose:

  • Lung infections
  • Airway blockages
  • Lung cancer stage

 What symptoms does a diagnostic bronchoscopy address?

 A diagnostic bronchoscopy is mainly done to identify issues and then your specialist can provide you with a treatment plan moving forward. However, there are things that your specialist can address during the procedure, including removing a foreign item or washing out your airways with a saline solution.

 When should you speak to a specialist about a diagnostic bronchoscopy?

 If you are experiencing problems with or changes to your breathing, you should speak to a specialist. They might suggest that you undergo a diagnostic bronchoscopy.

 How is a diagnostic bronchoscopy performed?

 A diagnostic bronchoscopy takes approximately 15-60 minutes and your specialist will spray a local anaesthetic into your throat, and they also might give you a sedative so you’re more relaxed.

The specialist will insert the bronchoscope down your throat via your mouth or nostril. They will then examine the images using the camera. It’s possible that during the procedure, your doctor might want to pass the camera further down into your lungs. If this is the case, you might be provided with further anaesthetic.

 What is the recovery for a diagnostic bronchoscopy?

 Your recovery from a diagnostic bronchoscopy can depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level, and the nature of your procedure.

Because you will likely be sedated during the procedure, it’s vital that you have someone who can pick you up after your bronchoscopy and help you get home. Because a sedative can inhibit your thinking and coordination, you should not operate machinery or drive, make important decisions, or drink alcohol until the sedative wears off.

Your specialist will advise you of any additional precautions you should take or things you should do after your procedure.

 Are there any risks/complications associated with a diagnostic bronchoscopy?

 As with any medical procedure, it is possible for risks or complications to arise. It is best that you speak with your specialist about how best to avoid any adverse reactions.

Some complications that have been associated with the procedure are:

  • A sore throat
  • A fever
  • Hoarseness
  • Bleeding
  • Arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat)
  • A lung tissue infection
  • A collapsed lung

How can I prepare for a diagnostic bronchoscopy?

Prior to a diagnostic bronchoscopy you should discuss the preparations you should make with your specialist, as there are several that could be suggested and they vary depending on the person

Are there alternatives for a diagnostic bronchoscopy?

There are alternatives to a diagnostic bronchoscopy that your specialist might suggest, including:

  • Breathing tests
  • Lung x-rays
  • CT-scans

You and your specialist can discuss whether any of these alternatives are a viable option for you.

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