Anesthesia and periinterventional morbidity of rigid bronchoscopy for tracheobronchial foreign body diagnosis and removal

Maren Tomaske, Andreas C Gerber, Markus Weiss
Paediatric Anaesthesia 2006, 16 (2): 123-9

BACKGROUND: Undiagnosed tracheobronchial foreign body aspiration (FBA) or delayed extraction can lead to serious morbidity. The aim of this study was to evaluate anesthetic and periinterventional morbidity of a straightforward regime using rigid bronchoscopy to rule out or remove a tracheobronchial foreign body in children with suspicion of FBA.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed rigid bronchoscopy charts of children with suspicion of acute (< or = 24 h) and subacute (>24 h-2 weeks) tracheobronchial FBA (1990-2003). Patient characteristics, duration of fasting, technique/course of anesthesia induction, and duration/course of rigid bronchoscopy were taken. Anesthetic, periinterventional complications and length of hospital stay were noted. Data are given in median (range [interquartile range]).

RESULTS: A total of 287 children were included in this study. Median age was 1.7 years (0.2-14.2 [1.2-2.5]); in 72.1% a tracheobronchial foreign body was found and removed. Fasting time before induction of anesthesia was 5 h (1-14 [4.0-7.0]). Anesthesia adverse events were seen in 0.7%, whereas periinterventional complication from rigid bronchoscopy was observed in 7.6%. Hospital discharge within 4 h after bronchoscopy was possible in 65.2%. Complications of delayed diagnosis (>24 h) were prolonged duration of rigid bronchoscopy because of severe mucosal changes or difficulties in foreign body extraction.

CONCLUSIONS: General anesthesia for rigid bronchoscopy to rule out a tracheobronchial foreign body in children carries low morbidity. Most of the complications originated from the foreign body itself especially in patients with late diagnosis. The risk for serious complications caused by retained foreign bodies outweighs the low morbidity of explorative rigid bronchoscopy in children with suspected FBA or children with prolonged cough or pulmonary infection unresponsive to medical treatment.

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