Background: Autofluorescence bronchoscopy (AB) enhances the bronchoscopist's ability to diagnose bronchial preneoplastic lesions and early cancer. We undertook a study to assess its feasibility and performance under local anaesthesia on a real ambulatory mode.
Methods: Thirty-four consecutive patients at very high risk for lung cancer were prospectively studied by AB under local anaesthesia, without any sedation. Lidocaine doses, time, oxygen saturation, peak expiratory flow (PEF) and the number of cough episodes were measured. Continuous assessment of the respiratory sensation was obtained with a visual analog scale. A total of 172 biopsies were performed in abnormal and normal areas.
Results: The procedure was long-lasting (mean +/- SD: 26.6 +/- 6.0 min), required high total doses of Lidocaine (660 +/- 107 mg) without any significant side effect, and was associated with significant decreases in O2 saturation from 98.5 +/- 1.4 to 96.1 +/- 2.5% and in PEF from 380 +/- 96 to 310 +/- 78 l/min. However, the cough counts were moderate and the majority of patients reported no respiratory discomfort. 62 hyperplasia, metaplasia, dysplasia and carcinoma in situ (CIS) were detected and the relative sensitivity of AB +/- white-light bronchoscopy (WLB) versus WLB alone was 3.75 for intraepithelial lesions corresponding to moderate dysplasia or worse.
Conclusions: AB, a procedure that increases our ability to recognize preneoplastic lesions and early lung cancer, can be performed under local anaesthesia, without systemic sedation in patients at very high risk for lung cancer.