Test: Bronchoscopy

What is a Bronchoscopy?

  • A Bronchoscopy is an examination of the airways including the larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe) and major bronchial tubes (airways). It is done by passing a small flexible scope (tube) through your mouth or nose into the lung
  • There is a tiny camera and light at the end of the tube. This lets the doctor see inside your air passage and take tiny bits of tissue or fluid for the laboratory for testing

How do you prepare for it?

  • You will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. This includes water, coffee, gum, candies, antacids
  • If you are on blood thinners your doctor will instruct you on when to stop taking them
  • If you are diabetic and on medication for your sugars your doctor will instruct you on whether or not to take those medications on the morning of the procedure
  • You may take your other regular medications with a small sip of water up to 2hours prior to coming to hospital

What happens when you arrive at the hospital?

  • You will be admitted to the medical short stay unit (MSSU) on 8D at least 1hour prior to the test
  • The nurse will take a short health history, check your blood pressure, and temperature.
  • An intravenous catheter (IV) will be inserted into your vein so that you may receive medications to relax you for the procedure
  • You will be brought into the procedure room for the test on a stretcher

What happens during this test?

  • The procedure will last about 30-45 minutes
  • The Respiratory Therapist will spray your throat with a numbing medicine to dull the feeling. You will also have to gargle with this medicine.
  • The doctor or nurse will also give you medicine through the IV to help you relax and feel sleepy
  • When you are relaxed and comfortable the doctor will start the procedure. A “bite-block” will be placed in your mouth, between your teeth.
  • You will not have pain. You may still cough during the procedure and this is normal

What you need to know for after the procedure:

  • You will stay in the MSSU for 2 hours after the procedure
  • You must not eat or drink anything right after the procedure because your throat will still be numb.
  • You must not drive for 24hours.
  • Someone will need to come and pick you up after the procedure and escort you home
  • Avoid consuming alcohol for 24 hours because the sedating medications you were given may stay in your system for up to 24 hours
  • Avoid making important decisions for 24 hours
  • It is normal to have a sore throat or cough up small amounts of blood-tinged sputum for 2-3 days
  • If you experience any sudden, severe shortness of breath, or cough up more than a tablespoon of blood, go to your nearest Emergency Department
  • A mild fever is common in the first 12 hours after a bronchoscopy. If the fever lasts longer than 24 hours, contact the Pacific Lung Health Centre or your family doctor.