Immediate chest roentgenography following fiberoptic bronchoscopy

Chest. 1989 Sep;96(3):477-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.96.3.477.


It is a common practice for some clinicians to obtain a chest roentgenogram immediately following FOB in an attempt to detect complications of the procedure, particularly pneumothorax; however, the roentgenogram adds substantially to the cost of FOB. It was our clinical impression that the diagnostic and therapeutic value of immediate chest roentgenography was minimal. Therefore, we reviewed 130 chest roentgenograms taken immediately after bronchoscopy that were obtained over 36 months. One hundred fourteen (88 percent) were unchanged from the most recent roentgenogram before bronchoscopy. Ten (8 percent) showed an increase in alveolar infiltrate due to bronchoalveolar lavage or hemorrhage. Five (4 percent) had changes presumably unrelated to the procedure. Only one patient had a pneumothorax on the roentgenogram taken immediately after bronchoscopy; however, the patient was symptomatic, and the pneumothorax was detected by fluoroscopy prior to the chest roentgenogram. Management of the patient's condition was not altered in a single case based upon findings on the chest roentgenogram. We conclude that the immediately postbronchoscopic chest roentgenogram rarely provides clinically useful information or detects a complication that is not suspected clinically; furthermore, it appears to have minimal impact, if any, on the management of a patient's condition.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy* / adverse effects
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumothorax / etiology
  • Radiography, Thoracic*
  • Time Factors