A bronchoscopy is a procedure during which an examiner, usually a pulmonologist or thoracic surgeon, uses a viewing tube to evaluate a patient’s lung and airways, including the voice box and vocal cord, trachea and bronchial branches. Although a bronchoscope does not allow for direct viewing and inspection of the lung tissue itself, samples of the lung tissue can be biopsied through the bronchoscope for subsequent examination in the laboratory.
How should a patient prepare for a bronchoscopy?
Most patients undergoing a bronchoscopy should take nothing by mouth after midnight on the evening prior to the procedure. Routine medications should be taken with sips of water, except for those drugs that can enhance the risk of bleeding, including aspirin products, blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as ibuprofen. These drugs must be discontinued at varying times before the procedure, depending on the type of medication. Patients must consult their doctors for the appropriate schedule for their particular situation. The doctor performing the bronchoscopy will also want to know of any drug allergies or major drug reactions that the patient may have experienced in the past.
What should a patient expect on the day of the bronchoscopy?
After you check in, one of our nurses will meet with you to review your medical conditions and medications. An IV line will be placed in a vein in your arm. You will proceed to the procedure room, where your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen level will be carefully monitored. A sedative will also be administered through your IV. You will soon feel drowsy, but will remain awake and able to cooperate throughout the procedure, which typically takes about 15-60 minutes.
Patients may feel the urge to cough because of the sensation of a foreign object in the windpipe. Again, this feeling can be minimized with pre-procedural relaxation medication and local anesthesia with lidocaine.
You will not be able to drive following the procedure, so plan on having someone with you to take you home. Before leaving, our staff will talk to you about the preliminary results of your test and will let you know when you can go back to eating your regular diet.
To request an appointment or more information about the procedure, please contact us at (617) 732-7426.