Fibreoptic broncoscopy in the critically ill: A prospective study of its diagnostic and therapeutic value

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Aim: A prospective study was undertaken to assess the diagnostic value and therapeutic usefulness of fibreoptic bronchoscopy in the critically ill. Method: Fifty-six bronchoscopies were performed in fifty patients. Biochemical, radiological, microbiological and clinical assessments were made before and after each procedure. Results: Eighteen fibreoptic bronchoscopies were performed for therapeutic indications (32.1%) of which ten (55.6%) yielded a useful outcome. Thirty-eight bronchoscopies were for diagnostic purposes (67.8%) of which 22 (57.9%) were clinically useful. Broncho-alveolar lavage was performed in twenty-eight cases (50%) and it led to a clinically useful diagnosis in 17 (60.7%). There was no major complication. A subgroup of patients was defined (persistent left lower lobe collapse or consolidation following thoracic or abdominal surgery) in whom fibreoptic bronchoscopy usually did not yield a useful outcome. Conclusion: The use of fibreoptic bronchoscopy in the Intensive Care Unit, in combination with the technique of bronchoalveolar lavage, results in a clinically useful outcome in the majority of cases. Fibreoptic bronchoscopy is an effective and safe diagnostic and therapeutic tool in critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-469
Number of pages6
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes

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