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West J Med. 1990 Oct;153(4):385-9.

Computed tomography and bronchoscopy in chest radiographically occult main-stem neoplasm diagnosis and Nd-YAG laser treatment in 8 patients.

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Department of Medicine, Doctor's Hospital of Lakewood, California.


We studied 8 adult patients with variable symptoms of cough, dyspnea, stridor, wheezing, or hemoptysis. Fiberoptic bronchoscopy in all showed complete or nearly complete endobronchial obstruction of a main-stem bronchus by neoplasm with a mean bronchial diameter of 1.9 mm +/- 1.6 mm (mean +/- standard deviation). In 4 patients, a lobar bronchus was also completely obstructed. No mass was visible on chest radiographs of any patient; however, computed tomography in each showed main-stem endobronchial obstruction, lobar obstruction (4 instances in 3 patients), and in 6 patients hypoperfusion of the involved lung. Computed tomographic scan showed additional abnormalities that were unsuspected on viewing chest radiographs or at bronchoscopy, including mediastinal adenopathy in 3 patients and an extraluminal tumor component in 4. After therapy with Nd-YAG laser, main-stem airway diameter increased to a mean of 9.6 mm +/- 1.0 mm (P less than .05) and pulmonary functions improved. Results suggest the complementary role of computed tomography and fiberoptic bronchoscopy in the detection and laser-treatment planning of chest radiographically occult severe neoplastic obstruction of the main-stem bronchus.

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