JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Clinical and demographic characteristics of tracheobronchial variations.

BACKGROUND: There are various anatomic variations in tracheobronchial system (tracheal bronchus, ectopic bronchus, and accessory bronchus). We aimed to investigate the bronchoscopic findings of the patients with tracheobronchial variations (TBVs) during bronchoscopy and to describe their clinical characteristics.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 3322 records of bronchoscopic examinations in university hospital and 1560 in chest disease hospital total 4882 were retrospectively analyzed and 198 (134 male, 64 female) patients were diagnosed as TBV.

RESULTS: Mean age of patients was 48.5 ± 17.8 (range, 15-78) years. Most of the tracheobronchial variations (n = 68, 33.1%) were localized at the right upper lobe bronchus. The most common type of TBVs at this region was right upper lobe with two segments. Symptoms were found in 21 (10.2%) patients with TBVs (7 accessory cardiac bronchus, 5 tracheal bronchus, 5 accessory segmental bronchus in left main bronchus and 4 accessory segmental bronchus in right main bronchus). Their symptoms cough, hemoptysis and recurrent pneumonia with unknown etiologies were thought as related to TBVs. No other potential causes leading these symptoms were found in these patients.

CONCLUSION: According to our best of knowledge our study population is one of the largest series of bronchoscopy for investigate of TBVs. Although TBVs were usually reported as asymptomatic, nearly 10% of our patients with TBVs had symptoms such as recurrent pneumonia, cough and hemoptysis. TBVs should be taken into consideration in symptomatic patients before fiber-optic bronchoscopic examination.

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