Complications of Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy at a University Hospital*

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Study objectiveTo retrospectively review the indications and complications associated with flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FFB) in a university teaching hospital.Designretrospective review from April 1, 1988 to March 30, 1993.SettingLarge tertiary care university hospital.Patients or participantsWe reviewed 4,273 consecutive FFBs, including 2,493 bronchoalveolar lavages and 173 transbronchial biopsy procedures.InterventionsNone.ResultsMost (52%) FFBs were performed for obtaining lower respiratory tract samples for evaluation of suspected infection. An additional 17% were performed to evaluate an abnormality seen on chest radiograph. The most common therapeutic indication was removal of retained secretions in 8% of FFBs. The mortality rate was 0%, and the frequency of major and minor complications was 0.5% and 0.8%, respectively. The incidence of major complications secondary to transbronchial biopsy was 6.8%.ConclusionsFlexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy can be performed safely in a teaching hospital with appropriate preparation, supervision, and adherence to protocol.(Chest 1995; 107:430-32)

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