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Bronchoscopy

Preparation:

  • Do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Please arrive 90 minutes before the scheduled procedure time
  • Please plan to be at the hospital for 4-6 hours, barring any complications.
  • Bronchoscopy is done on an outpatient basis. You MUST have someone available to drive you home.

Medications:

You should continue to take your usual medications on schedule, unless this conflicts with the following precautions:

Most blood thinners should not be taken for 5 days prior to the procedure. Please alert the Procedure Scheduler if you are on blood thinners, so that we may give you instructions that are specific for your situation.

Additionally, please notify us prior to the procedure if you are taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin, Advil, Motrin or Naprosyn, as you will need to be off of these medications for several days prior to the Bronchoscopy.

What to expect:

Prior to the procedure, an IV will be inserted into your hand and a local anesthetic will be sprayed in your nose and throat. Once the airways are adequately numbed, and the gag reflex is absent, you will receive intravenous sedating medications that will help you relax. The bronchoscope is then inserted through your nose or mouth, the airways are examined and samples are obtained.

While some patients may experience coughing during the procedure, there is no pain associated with bronchoscopy. Once the procedure is completed (typically 30-60 minutes), you will remain under observation for a couple of hours while the effects of the medications wear off. You will then be discharged home. You may experience some fatigue for the remainder of the day.

Potential Complications:

Bronchoscopy is typically well tolerated and has a very low incidence of complications. Rarely, patients may have an unusual reaction to one of the medications that is used; as these medications are short-acting, this usually resolves quickly. Occasionally patients may develop a transient fever the night of the procedure.

It is not uncommon for patients to cough up a small amount of blood for a day or so after the procedure. Please notify us if you continue to cough up blood over several days, cough up large amounts of blood, or develop chest pain, shortness of breath, or a fever greater than 101 degrees.

If biopsies of the lung were performed during your procedure, this may be complicated by bleeding or a pneumothorax (collapse of the lung). Bleeding in the lungs is rarely severe enough to cause a serious problem. If a pneumothorax occurs, and the collapse is minor, it typically will resolve on its own. For a larger collapse, a chest tube will need to be placed to re-expand the lung, and you will need to be hospitalized.