Objective: To investigate the development of bronchoscopy in China and compare it with its application in the early 21st century. Methods: The data collection was based on questionnaires. Three hundred and nineteen hospitals, which distributed across 30 provinces and 130 cities, were included in the study. Data about the application of bronchoscopy in Shanghai and Hunan province in the early 21st century are also involved for comparison. Results: The median period of performing diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy was 19.7±11.0 and 7.4±7.0 years, respectively. On average, about 155.2 cases and 28.4 cases received diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy in each hospital per month. The average area and number of the examination room was 122.7m2 and 2.2m2, respectively. More examination items were performed in specialty hospitals than those in general hospitals (P<0.05) and specialty hospitals owned more rooms exclusively for bronchoscopy (P<0.05), while no difference of the number of allocated doctors was found (P>0.05). On the other side, the whole amount of diagnosis and therapeutic items in teaching hospitals was slightly higher than that in non-teaching hospitals (P<0.01). Comparison of diagnosis and therapeutic endoscopy in Shanghai and Hunan province shows that the number of flexible bronchoscopy increased by 5.8 times in Shanghai from 2002 to 2017, while that increased by 3.4 times in Hunan province from 2005 to 2017. Furthermore, the average number of allocated doctors increased by 0.85 times in Shanghai, which was more rapidly compared with that of Hunan province (0.66 times) (P<0.05). Besides, the development rate of the diagnosis and therapeutic projects in Shanghai was significantly higher than that in Hunan province (P<0.05). Conclusion: All different classes of hospitals in China are capable of carrying out conventional bronchoscopy diagnosis and therapeutic projects, and newly developed bronchoscopy technology has gradually spread in high-level hospitals since 21st century. The higher class the hospital was, the earlier bronchoscopy was performed. Respiratory endoscopy in China has developed rapidly since the early 21st century and the construction of respiratory endoscopy center and the personnel training are on the right track, but it is also faced with inadequate equipment, unbalanced regional development and insufficient personnel allocation.
Keywords: Respiratory diseases; bronchoscopy; education.
© The author(s).