Bronchoscopy in Japan: a survey by the Japan Society for Respiratory Endoscopy in 2006

Respirology. 2009 Mar;14(2):282-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2008.01463.x. Epub 2009 Jan 23.


Background and objective: In order to obtain information on the clinical application of bronchoscopy in Japan, the Japan Society for Respiratory Endoscopy (JSRE) conducted a postal survey.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 526 authorized institutes of the JSRE. The subject was bronchoscopy procedures performed during 2006.

Results: The response rate was 71.3%. The total number of bronchoscopies performed was 74,770. Of these, 74,412 were flexible bronchoscopies and 358 were rigid bronchoscopies. At least one JSRE-authorized specialist had worked with 97% of respondents. Eighty-five per cent of respondents performed bronchoscopy under topical anaesthesia for almost all patients. Seventy-five per cent of respondents routinely used the oral route. The reported numbers of diagnostic bronchoscopies was 12,509 for simple bronchoscopy, 25,971 for forceps biopsy, 26,289 for brush biopsy, 25,659 for bronchial washing, 1387 for transbronchial needle aspiration and 6716 for BAL. Three deaths were caused by forceps biopsy (0.012%). The morbidity rates for these diagnostic procedures ranged from 0.14% to 2.5%. The reported numbers of therapeutic bronchoscopies was 476 for tracheobronchial stent, 164 for neodymium (Nd): yttrium-aluminium garnet (YAG) laser photoresection (LPR), 40 for photodynamic therapy, 81 for balloon dilatation, 145 for endobronchial electrocautery, 120 for argon plasma coagulation, 109 for microwave coagulation (MWC), 116 for ethanol injection, 110 for foreign body removal and 89 for bronchial occlusion. Deaths occurred only as a consequence of Nd : YAG LPR (0.61%). The morbidity rates for these therapeutic procedures ranged from 0% to 5%.

Conclusions: The preparation for, and practice of, bronchoscopy varied greatly between respondents. Diagnostic bronchoscopy was well tolerated and safe. Therapeutic procedures did not appear to be practised widely or frequently.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Bronchoscopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Clinical Audit*
  • Data Collection*
  • Humans
  • Japan