Background: Patients with malignant airway obstruction may need endobronchial intervention to relieve the associated symptoms. We report our experience of interventional bronchoscopy with regard to complications and survival.
Methods: A total of 257 patients (167 men, 90 women, median age 67 y) were treated with 360 endobronchial procedures at our department in the period from 1998 to 2009. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods were used for survival analysis. The log-rank test was used for comparison.
Results: Median survival after interventional bronchoscopy was 15 weeks. Eighteen patients died within 2 weeks after the procedure. Survival in the primary lung and metastatic cancer groups was 15 and 18 weeks, respectively (P=0.25). Survival in patients with small-cell lung carcinoma and nonsmall-cell lung carcinoma was 7 and 17 weeks, respectively (P=0.04). Serious complications such as bleeding (5), pneumothorax (1), and airway obstruction during the procedure (1) were rare (1.9%). All cases of serious hemorrhage occurred in patients with metastases from renal carcinoma.
Conclusion: Life expectancy in patients with malignant airway obstruction is short. There was no difference in survival between patients with primary and metastatic lung disease. Bronchoscopic treatment is safe and serious complications are rare. Serious hemorrhage is frequent when treating lung metastases from renal carcinoma.