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Clin Chest Med. 1999 Mar;20(1):1-17.

Future of flexible bronchoscopy.

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Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, USA.


Despite some potential "threats" (Table 3), the future of bronchoscopy is likely full with ever expanding applications in clinical medicine and research (Tables 1 and 2). The role of bronchoscopy in lung cancer continues to expand and the usefulness of newer techniques needs to be established. The role of FB is also ever expanding in the immuno compromised host and critically ill patients. Future studies, however, should concentrate on patient outcome, especially survival and performance status. Therapeutic bronchoscopy has been extended to many areas and the emphasis of future research will likely continue to be at the molecular level rather than on studies of better instruments for retrieval purposes. The most exciting developments are likely to be in the field of gene therapy, which has made remarkable progress in the past decade. Gene therapy can be a powerful technology, but several hurdles must be overcome to make gene therapy a reality for treating human disease in the future. As the cost of technology continues to challenge health care delivery systems, a major challenge for the future of bronchoscopy is to evaluate new technologies and applications based on their impact on patient outcome, survival, and management of cost.

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