In this study, the doctor examines the airways (bronchial system). The examination is performed with a bronchoscope. This is a thin, flexible hose that is inserted into the respiratory tract through the mouth or nose. The diameter of the airways are four times larger than the diameter of the largest bronchoscope. So you can easily continue breathing during the study. Preparation, examination and post-treatment take approximately two hours to complete.
To prepare for the study you should be sober (no meals) at least six hours before the exam. Do you use medications in the morning? Then you can take them as prescribed unless the doctor gives you other indications. When taking pills and brushing your teeth, you can take a sip of water. In order for the exam to be adequate and trouble-free, we ask family and / or supervisors to wait in the waiting room.
Before examination the doctor or the lab technician numbs (anaesthesize) the throat. This is necessary to remove the cough reflex. Anesthesia is performed in two stages: The atomization and/or spraying. In the atomization you inhale anesthetic liquid through a mouthpiece. This takes about 15 minutes. The doctor or laboratory technician then applies another anesthetic to the mouth and throat several times, by spraying. This spray produces a thick sensation and stiffness in the throat. You may also feel difficulty swallowing. The spray has a bitter taste. The anesthesia lasts about 45 minutes.
You will be asked to lie down on a table or sit in a chair. Oxygen level, pulse and blood pressure are continuously monitored during the procedure. You may be given additional oxygen during the test through a nostril, to make the test less stressful for you. The doctor introduces the bronchoscope through the mouth or nose and the throat into the respiratory tract. The diameter of the airways are four times larger than the largest diameter of the bronchoscope. So you can continue breathing easily during the exam. Some parts of the airways are difficult to be anesthetize in the beginning of the exam. Your doctor may give you additional anesthesia through the endoscope for those parts. This minimizes coughing.
The bronchoscope is a device that carries a tiny camera and a light, which allow the doctor to observe your airway on a monitor. You can also watch the procedure on the monitor if you so wish. Sometimes during the procedure, some bronchial secretion will be sucked through the bronchoscope (culture) or some tissue (biopsy) for further microscopic examination. This does not cause discomfort since you will not feel anything. If a biopsy is done you might cough up some blood afterwards. This is minimal and harmless.
You will get the results from your doctor immediately or at the next appointment.