Impact of interventional bronchoscopy on quality of life in malignant airway obstruction

Respiration. 2008;76(4):421-8. doi: 10.1159/000152832. Epub 2008 Aug 30.


Background: Interventional bronchoscopic procedures can re-establish airway patency in the majority of individuals suffering from endobronchial obstruction. However, literature provides limited data on the impact of these procedures on the individual's quality of life (QoL).

Objectives: We evaluated the impact of interventional bronchoscopic procedures aimed at re-establishing airway patency on symptoms and QoL of individuals who do not receive concomitant chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Methods: Over a 6-month period, we prospectively enrolled patients with symptomatic central airway obstruction related to malignancy and performed laser ablation, cryotherapy, and/or airway stenting in order to re-establish airway patency. QoL was evaluated by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire at one day before, 7 days after, and 1 month after procedure. Dyspnea was also assessed by the Borg scale before the procedure and one day after.

Results: Final analysis could be performed on 83% (20/24) of the participants. Improvement in airway diameter was achieved in all patients, and >80% patency was established in 80% (16/20) of the patients. Dyspnea scores had improved in 85% of participants (p = 0.01). Thirteen patients experienced an improvement in QoL, although QoL scores remained stable for the group as a whole.

Conclusion: Endoscopic procedures can effectively reduce dyspnea associated with malignant central airway obstruction, but this may not always translate into improvements in overall QoL. Administration of QoL questionnaires is feasible, and may help identify domains contributing to patient's decline, and thereby improve overall patient care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy*
  • Bronchoscopy*
  • Carcinoma / complications*
  • Carcinoma / secondary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*