Role of bronchoscopy in massive hemoptysis

R Karmy-Jones, J Cuschieri, E Vallières
Chest Surgery Clinics of North America 2001, 11 (4): 873-906
Airway hemorrhage is a potentially rapidly fatal condition. Death may occur within minutes from asphyxiation before control can be achieved. The primary prognostic factors are the rate of bleeding and the underlying cardiopulmonary status of the patient. Bronchoscopy is central in management, but the goals differ, depending on circumstances. In stable patients who have minimal hemoptysis, bronchoscopy can diagnose the cause specifically and be used as the primary treatment modality. In the setting of massive or life-threatening bleeding, bronchoscopy primarily is performed to maintain ventilation and to direct endobronchial blockade. Although flexible bronchoscopy is an acceptable mode initially, there should be no delay in performing rigid bronchoscopy when it becomes apparent that bleeding is too vigorous to permit [figure: see text] successful airway exploration with the smaller flexible instrument. Once isolation of bleeding has been achieved, the choice must be made between embolization, surgical resection, or both of these procedures.

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