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The safety of flexible fibre‐optic bronchoscopy and proceduralist‐administered sedation: a tertiary referral centre experience

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Background: Flexible fibre‐optic bronchoscopy has become an essential investigation and is widely regarded as safe, but wider published prospective data regarding delayed complications are limited. There is continuing debate concerning the safety of proceduralist‐administered sedation. We evaluated complication rates of bronchoscopy and proceduralist‐administered sedation at our tertiary institution, and their clinical significance.

Methods: Prospective evaluation of all patients undergoing bronchoscopy over a 12‐month period at a tertiary referral centre. Immediate minor and major complications were documented within 4 h of bronchoscopy, delayed complications at 48 h, case notes and bronchoscopy records were reviewed 1 month later.

Results: Five hundred and fifty‐eight flexible fibre‐optic bronchoscopies were performed, 216 with transbronchial biopsy or nodal aspiration, 19 had therapeutic airways intervention. The minor complication rate at 4 h was 4.12% (23), rising to 26% (145) at 48 h. All 2.2% (12) major complications occurred exclusively within 4 h of bronchoscopy. No complications could be attributed to proceduralist‐administered sedation.

Discussion: Complication rates at 4 h were comparable with previously reported data. Delayed minor complications were greater than expected, and did not require additional medical input. There were no complications from proceduralist‐administered sedation. Flexible fibre‐optic bronchoscopy and proceduralist‐administered sedation within our institution's guidelines are safe.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Thoracic Medicine, The Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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