Study objective: To investigate the safety of total intravenous anesthesia and spontaneous assisted ventilation during interventional rigid bronchoscopy (IRB).
Design: Prospective, noncomparative study.
Setting: A university hospital thoracic endoscopy and laser center.
Patients: Eighty-three patients underwent a total of 124 procedures (including Nd:Yag laser therapy, stent insertions, transbronchial biopsies/bronchoalveolar lavages (TBB/BALs) in transplant patients and others). Results of preanesthesia consultation, endoscopic and anesthesia intervention, perioperative complications, and time spent in recovery room were recorded prospectively.
Results: Respiratory complications occurred in 22 procedures (18 percent) and included severe intraoperative or postoperative oxyhemoglobin desaturations (19 cases), bronchospasms/laryngospasms (two cases), and one recurrent pneumothorax. These complications were mostly related to the endobronchial surgical procedure. Respiratory complications occurred more frequently in patients with American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) 3 and 4 status (p < 0.005) and in patients with a karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) below 70 (p < 0.05). No cardiac complications were noted, although 13 patients had significant underlying heart disease. Propofol was used in 121 procedures. Etomidate was used 15 times for induction and three times for both induction and maintenance in patients with ASA status 4 or low blood pressure before induction.
Conclusion: Total intravenous anesthesia and spontaneous assisted ventilation is a well-suited technique for IRB. Severe hypoxemia, however, may occur in approximately 15 percent of patients. This complication is usually related to the procedure itself and is easy to reverse. Propofol is well tolerated in the majority of patients but it must be used with care in patients with poor functional or cardiovascular status.