An analysis of potential risk factors for early complications from fiberoptic bronchoscopy in lung transplant recipients

Transpl Int. 2012 Feb;25(2):172-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2011.01392.x. Epub 2011 Dec 12.


Several reviews exist describing the safety of bronchoscopy in lung transplant recipients. However, the incidence of bronchoscopic complications in lung transplant recipients in relation to trainee involvement, and clinical characteristics such as pre-transplant diagnosis and transplant type, has not been described. We performed a retrospective cohort study of all lung transplant recipients undergoing flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (n = 259) at the University of California, San Francisco, between January, 2003, and June, 2009. Complications included bleeding, pneumothorax, aspiration, oversedation, and hypoxemia. From 2003 to 2009, 3734 flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopies were performed, including 2111 (57%) with transbronchial biopsies. Trainees were involved in 2102 bronchoscopies (56%), including 1046 transbronchial biopsies (49.5%). Complications occurred in 27 bronchoscopies [0.7% (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.4-1.0)], with 10 involving a trainee (37%). Twenty (74%) occurred during bronchoscopies with transbronchial biopsies. Six of these involved a trainee, while 14 involved an attending alone (P = 0.03). We did not find differences in pre-transplant diagnosis, transplant type, lung, or renal function between subjects who suffered a complication and those who did not (P ≥ 0.30). The involvement of trainees, pre-transplant diagnosis, and transplant type do not significantly impact the rate of bronchoscopic complications in lung transplant recipients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors