Use of fiberoptic bronchoscopy to retrieve bronchial foreign bodies in adults

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1989 Dec;140(6):1734-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/140.6.1734.


The flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope was used to treat bronchial foreign bodies in 33 adults. The length of time that the foreign body was in the lung was less than 1 wk in six (acute group), more than 1 month in 21 (chronic group), and uncertain in two (uncertain group), and the foreign body was an endogenous broncholith in four patients (broncholith group). The foreign bodies were nonfragile, solid matter in most cases and they frequently had sharp projections on them. Granulations around the foreign body were common in the chronic group, but there was no correlation between the length of time the foreign body was in the lung and the amount of granulation or the number of the bronchoscopies needed for diagnosis or management. The granulations did not bleed easily on biopsy or during removal of the foreign body. In fact, they receded if several pieces were removed, making the foreign body much easier to recognize and to retrieve in the next bronchoscopy (about 1 wk later). After removal of the foreign body, the residual granulations regressed, and the bronchial lumen became more patent. The mortality, morbidity, and complication rates were very low, whereas the success rate was high. We conclude that flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy is practical and safe in retrieving bronchial foreign bodies in adult patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchi*
  • Bronchoscopy*
  • Female
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnosis
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged