Advanced Diagnostic Bronchoscopy Using Conscious Sedation and the Laryngeal Nerve Block: Tolerability, Thoroughness, and Diagnostic Yield

Geetinder Goyal, Margaret A. Pisani, Terrence E. Murphy, Katy L. Araujo, Jonathan T. Puchalski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although bronchoscopy has conventionally been performed using conscious sedation, advanced diagnostic techniques like endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA), peripheral EBUS, and electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy add to procedural complexity. The adaptation of these techniques by bronchoscopists of varied backgrounds is expanding. It is not clear how patients will tolerate these advanced procedures when they are performed using traditional conscious sedation.

Methods: We prospectively studied patients that underwent diagnostic bronchoscopic procedures using conscious sedation over a 1-year period. The primary outcome was patient tolerability measured with four questions soliciting subjective responses. Secondary outcomes included required dosage of medications, thoroughness of the procedure, diagnostic yield, and occurrence of complications.

Results: A total of 181 patients were enrolled. Compared to patients in whom conventional bronchoscopy with transbronchial biopsies were performed, there was no difference in patient tolerability using the advanced techniques. Although some of the advanced procedures added to the procedure time, the required amount of medication was within commonly accepted dosages. When EBUS-TBNA was performed, a mean of 2.8 lymph node stations per patient were sampled. A specific diagnosis was obtained in 55.9 % of patients who solely underwent EBUS-TBNA. The diagnostic yield increased to 75.7 % when a parenchymal abnormality prompted additional biopsies. One patient required sedation reversal. Complications were minimal.

Conclusions: This study suggests that advanced diagnostic bronchoscopic procedures are well tolerated using conscious sedation with no compromise of thoroughness, diagnostic yield, or safety. This may be useful for bronchoscopists using these techniques who do not have ready access to general anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-913
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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