Study objective: To determine whether recipients of lung transplants have a higher risk of bleeding from fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) than other patients who undergo the procedure.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Bronchoscopy services of Johns Hopkins Hospital, a tertiary referral center and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, a community hospital.
Patients: All adult patients (18 years) who underwent FOB between July 1, 1996 and June 30, 1997 by the full-time pulmonary medicine staff were included. A total of 720 procedures were performed, including 38 in lung transplant recipients.
Measurements: Bleeding was assessed by reviewing physician reports of bloody drainage after the procedure and whether the procedure was terminated early for bleeding. Patient reports of hemoptysis were assessed using questionnaires administered pre- and post-FOB. Predictor variables included patient demographics, bleeding parameters (platelets, prothrombin time, and activated partial thromboplastin time), immunosuppressive medications, aspirin use, use of transbronchial biopsy, and the time length of the procedure.
Results: Lung transplant recipients were significantly more likely to have used aspirin prior to FOB (18.4 vs 7.2%, p < 0.05) and to undergo transbronchial biopsy (64.9 vs 26.8%, p < 0.001). Lung transplant patients were more likely to have new or worsened hemoptysis (53.8 vs 24.6%, p < 0.001), to have > 25 mL of blood loss (44.5 vs 17.5%, p < 0.001) and to have the procedure terminated early for bleeding (5.4 vs 1.0%, p < 0.05). In multivariate analysis, predictors of new or worsened hemoptysis included lung transplant, longer procedure time, and older patient age. Independent predictors of greater blood loss included lung transplant, performance of transbronchial biopsy, longer procedure time, and older patient age.
Conclusions: Lung transplant recipients are at higher risk of bleeding from bronchoscopy than are other patients. This propensity to bleed is independent of coagulation parameters, platelet count, immunosuppressive medication use, aspirin use, or performance of transbronchial biopsy. The higher risk of bleeding should be considered when assessing the risks and benefits of bronchoscopy in lung transplant recipients.