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Eur Clin Respir J. 2016 Nov 11;3:33324. doi: 10.3402/ecrj.v3.33324. eCollection 2016.

Complications and discomfort of bronchoscopy: a systematic review.

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Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway;
Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Department of Thoracic Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.



To identify bronchoscopy-related complications and discomfort, meaningful complication rates, and predictors.


We conducted a systematic literature search in PubMed on 8 February 2016, using a search strategy including the PICO model, on complications and discomfort related to bronchoscopy and related sampling techniques.


The search yielded 1,707 hits, of which 45 publications were eligible for full review. Rates of mortality and severe complications were low. Other complications, for instance, hypoxaemia, bleeding, pneumothorax, and fever, were usually not related to patient characteristics or aspects of the procedure, and complication rates showed considerable ranges. Measures of patient discomfort differed considerably, and results were difficult to compare between different study populations.


More research on safety aspects of bronchoscopy is needed to conclude on complication rates and patient- and procedure-related predictors of complications and discomfort.


adverse events; diagnostic bronchoscopy; informed consent; patient satisfaction; safety

Conflict of interest statement

and funding The authors have read and understood the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) policy on declaration of interests and declare the following interests: within the last 3 years, both EOL and EMHM have received a travel grant from GlaxoSmithKline; RG has received travel grants from the Norwegian Respiratory Society, a grant for the MicroCOPD study from GlaxoSmithKline, and speaker fees from AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim; TMLE has received travel grants from InterMune for the AIR conferences, a grant for the MicroILD study from Boehringer Ingelheim, and speaker fees from AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim; and PSB has acted as an advisory board member for Boehringer-Ingelheim, Mundipharma, AstraZeneca. This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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