Bronchoscope damage and repair costs: results of a regional postal survey

Respir Care. 1992 Nov;37(11):1256-9.


Flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy is a commonly performed procedure for which the indications, technical aspects, and potential patient complications have been well described. However, limited information is available regarding damage to the instrument itself. In order to better describe the types and causes of bronchoscope damage, repair costs, and time out of service, we performed a postal survey of hospital bronchoscopy laboratories in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. We received 43 completed surveys from laboratories that perform an average of 233 bronchoscopies per year. The respondents reported 103 episodes of bronchoscope damage, the majority of which consisted of damage to the bronchoscope cover, broken fiber bundles, malfunction of the bending apparatus, and suction channel damage. The respondents attributed 62% of all the damage to one of the three following categories: unknown, improper handling, and damage caused by biopsy forceps, brushes, or needles. Of the 103 episodes of bronchoscope damage, 66 (64%) were judged to be preventable, 13.6% not preventable, and 17.5% to be indeterminant. The average time out of service (mean, SD) for each damaged bronchoscope was 3.5 (3.9) weeks, and the average repair cost per episode of bronchoscope damage was $2,726.13 ($1,391.21). At least 19 episodes of bronchoscope damage occurred during cleaning and disinfecting procedures. We conclude that the majority of bronchoscope damage and repair costs should be potentially preventable and suggest that a program to familiarize all personnel handling bronchoscopes with proper maintenance and handling procedures should decrease the risk of bronchoscope damage.

MeSH terms

  • Alabama
  • Bronchoscopes*
  • Bronchoscopy / economics
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / statistics & numerical data
  • Equipment Failure / economics
  • Equipment Failure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Inservice Training / economics
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Respiratory Therapy Department, Hospital / economics*
  • Respiratory Therapy Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires