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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Sep 1;182(5):589-97. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201002-0186CI. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Advances in diagnostic bronchoscopy.

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Clinical Operations, Interventional Pulmonology and Thoracic Oncology, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 3600 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283, USA.


Diagnostic bronchoscopy has undergone two major paradigm shifts in the last 40 years. First, the advent of flexible bronchoscopy gave chest physicians improved access to the tracheobronchial tree with a rapid learning curve and greater patient comfort compared with rigid bronchoscopy. The second paradigm shift has evolved over the last 5 years with the proliferation of new technologies that have significantly enhanced the diagnostic capabilities of flexible bronchoscopy compared with traditional methods. At the forefront of these new technologies is endobronchial ultrasound. In its various forms, endobronchial ultrasound has improved diagnostic yield for pulmonary masses, nodules, intrathoracic adenopathy, and disease extent, thereby reducing the need for more invasive surgical interventions. Various navigational bronchoscopy systems have become available to increase flexible bronchoscope access to small peripheral pulmonary lesions. Furthermore, various modalities of airway assessment, including optical microscopic imaging technologies, may play significant roles in the diagnosis of a variety of pulmonary diseases in the future. Finally, the combination of new diagnostic bronchoscopy technologies and novel approaches in molecular analysis and biomarker assessment hold promise for enhanced diagnosis and personalized management of many pulmonary disorders. In this review, we provide a contemporary review of diagnostic bronchoscopy developments over the past decade.

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