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Why Is Bronchoscopy Performed?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 17:23

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

A doctor will suggest a bronchoscopy if he or she needs to see inside your airways or remove something from them. Knowing the condition of your airways helps the doctor prescribe the right treatment, so you can start breathing better.

This procedure is often used to help diagnose diseases like asthma, lung cancer, bronchitis, and bronchiectasis.

The doctor can use a bronchoscope to take small pieces of tissue for lab tests. He or she can also remove extra mucus, foreign objects, or other things blocking the airway.

Reasons to perform a bronchoscopy include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Abnormal chest x-ray
  • Inhalation of a foreign object

Are There Any People Who Shouldn't Have Bronchoscopy?

Conditions that may prevent someone from having a bronchoscopy include:

  • Unstable low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Low cardiac output (the amount of blood your heart pumps)
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Recent heart attack or heart disease
  • Bleeding problems
  • Severe anemia (a low level of red blood cells)
  • Allergy to lidocaine (an anesthetic medication)

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