Evaluation of Safety and Short-term Outcomes of Therapeutic Rigid Bronchoscopy Using Total Intravenous Anesthesia and Spontaneous Assisted Ventilation

Respiration. 2020;99(3):239-247. doi: 10.1159/000504679. Epub 2019 Dec 18.


Background: There is a paucity of published data regarding the optimal type of anesthesia and ventilation strategies during rigid bronchoscopy.

Objective: The aim of our study is to report the procedural and anesthesia-related complications with rigid bronchoscopy using total intravenous anesthesia and spontaneous assisted ventilation.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients undergoing therapeutic rigid bronchoscopy at the University of Chicago between October 2012 and December 2014 was performed. Data were recorded relating to patients' demographics, comorbidities, type of anesthesia, need for neuromuscular blockade (NMB), intraoperative hypoxemia, hypotension, perioperative adverse events, and mortality.

Results: Fifty-five patients underwent 79 rigid bronchoscopy procedures; 90% were performed for malignant disease and 90% of patients had an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class III or IV. The majority (76%) did not require use of NMB. The most common adverse events were intraoperative hypoxemia (67%) and hypotension (77%). Major bleeding and postoperative respiratory failure occurred in 3.8 and 5.1% of procedures, respectively. There was no intraoperative mortality or cardiac dysrhythmias. The 30-day mortality was 7.6% and was associated with older age, inpatient status, congestive heart failure, home oxygen use, and procedural duration. Intraoperative hypoxemia, hypotension, and ASA class were not associated with 30-day mortality. The majority (94%) of patients were discharged home. The use of NMB did not impact outcomes.

Conclusions: This study suggests that therapeutic rigid bronchoscopy can be safely performed with total intravenous anesthesia and spontaneous assisted ventilation in patients with central airway obstruction, significant comorbidities, and a high ASA class. The only significant modifiable variable predicting the 30-day mortality was the duration of the procedure.

Keywords: Anesthesia; Neuromuscular blockade; Rigid bronchoscopy; Spontaneous assisted ventilation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / surgery*
  • Anesthesia, Intravenous / methods*
  • Argon Plasma Coagulation
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Delayed Emergence from Anesthesia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / epidemiology
  • Hypoxia / epidemiology
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Laser Therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Neuromuscular Blockade / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Expandable Metallic Stents
  • Stents