Fiberoptic bronchoscopy of intubated patients with life-threatening hemoptysis

H J Düpree, J C Lewejohann, J Gleiss, E Muhl, H P Bruch
World Journal of Surgery 2001, 25 (1): 104-7
Bleeding in the tracheobronchial tree in intubated patients on an intensive care unit is a potentially life-threatening incident. The antecedent state of disease and frequent respiratory failure require immediate and effective therapeutic measures to avoid further respiratory and cardiocirculatory depression. We present our bronchoscopic management of endobronchial bleeding. Cardiorespiratory function must be maintained by modification of the mechanical ventilation and drug therapy owing to the patient's condition. Seven consecutive patients with acute endobronchial bleeding were treated with fiberoptic bronchoscopy and instillation of cold epinephrine-saline solution (1:10,000-100,000) during the period of July 1997 to December 1997. Control of bleeding was achieved after 1 to 20 (mean +/- SEM: 5.86 +/- 0.93) bronchoscopic interventions during a period of 0.5 hours to 10 days. One control bronchoscopy was performed additionally in every patient. Cardiocirculatory instability was observed in five patients. Six patients survived; one patient died of uncontrolled bleeding caused by severe pulmonary aspergillosis. Fiberoptic endobronchial epinephrine instillation is an effective therapy for life-threatening hemoptysis in critically ill patients. Widespread use of flexible bronchoscopy makes this procedure immediately applicable in critical situations. Intubated and mechanically ventilated patients with life-threatening hemoptysis especially benefit from this rapidly feasible procedure.

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