Incidence of complications in bronchoscopy. Multicentre prospective study of 20,986 bronchoscopies


  • N. Facciolongo | Pulmonary diseases Unit, Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, Reggio Emilia, Italy.
  • M. Patelli Thoracic Endoscopy e Pneumology Unit; Maggiore-Bellaria Hospital; Azienda USL Bologna, Italy.
  • S. Gasparini Pulmonary diseases Unit, Departement of Internal Medicine, Immunoallergic and Respiratory Diseases; Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria “Ospedali Riuniti” Ancona, Italy.
  • L. Lazzari Agli Pulmonary diseases Unit, Rimini Hospital, Italy.
  • M. Salio Pulmonary diseases Unit, SS. Antonio e Biagio e C. Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria, Italy.
  • C. Simonassi Interventional Pneumology Unit, Villa Scassi Hospital, Genoa, Italy.
  • B. Del Prato Bronchial Endoscopy and Bronchial Emergencies Unit, “A. Cardarelli” Hospital, Naples, Italy.
  • P. Zanoni Statistical Service, Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, Reggio Emilia, Italy.


Aim. To evaluate the frequency of complications in bronchoscopy from data compiled between 1/2/2002 to 1/2/2003. Materials and methods. Nineteen Italian centres of thoracic endoscopy participated in the study, for a total of 20,986 bronchoscopies (FBS), including 10,658 explorative bronchoscopies (EB) (50.79%), 5,520 bronchial biopsies (BB) (26.30%), 1,660 transbronchial biopsies (TBB) (7.91%), 1,127 broncho-alveolar lavages (BAL) (5.37%), 930 transbronchial needle-aspirates (TBNA) (4.43%), 1.091 therapeutic bronchoscopies (TB), comprising NDYAG Laser, argon-plasma, electrocautery knife, stent insertion (5.20%). 82.4% of the procedures involved the use of a flexible bronchoscope, 16.3% were carried out using a rigid bronchoscope and 1.3% using the mixed technique. Results. The total number of complications recorded was 227 (1.08% of the cases examined), including 20 (0.09%) during local anesthesia and pre-medication, 195 (0.92%) during the endoscopic procedures and 12 (0.05%) in the two hours following FBS. The total number of deaths was 4 (0.02%), due to cardiac arrest, pulmonary edema, delayed respiratory failure and shock in pre-medication, respectively. 68.28% of the complications were treated medically, 25.99% by means of endoscopy and 5.72% with surgery. The healing percentage was 98.2%. Conclusions. This study has shown that bronchoscopy is a safe method with low incidence of mortality and complications. The preparation, experience and continuous training of the operators of the medical and nursing team seem to play a fundamental role in reducing the incidence of complications at least in certain procedures such as BB and TBB.



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Original Articles
Bronchoscopy, Complications, Bronchial biopsies, Transbronchial biopsies, Hemorrhage, Pneumothorax
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How to Cite
Facciolongo, N., M. Patelli, S. Gasparini, L. Lazzari Agli, M. Salio, C. Simonassi, B. Del Prato, and P. Zanoni. 2016. “Incidence of Complications in Bronchoscopy. Multicentre Prospective Study of 20,986 Bronchoscopies”. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease 71 (1).

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