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

N. Facciolongo, M. Patelli, S. Gasparini, L. Lazzari Agli, M. Salio, C. Simonassi, B. Del Prato, P. Zanoni
  • 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.


Bronchoscopy, Complications, Bronchial biopsies, Transbronchial biopsies, Hemorrhage, Pneumothorax

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Submitted: 2016-01-22 15:55:03
Published: 2016-01-25 11:37:14
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Copyright (c) 2016 N. Facciolongo, M. Patelli, S. Gasparini, L. Lazzari Agli, M. Salio, C. Simonassi, B. Del Prato, P. Zanoni

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