Oxygenation strategies during flexible bronchoscopy: a review of the literature

Respir Res. 2021 Sep 25;22(1):253. doi: 10.1186/s12931-021-01846-1.


During flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) the arterial partial pressure of oxygen can drop, increasing the risk for respiratory failure. To avoid desaturation episodes during the procedure several oxygenation strategies have been proposed, including conventional oxygen therapy (COT), high flow nasal cannula (HFNC), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and non-invasive ventilation (NIV). By a review of the current literature, we merely describe the clinical practice of oxygen therapies during FOB. We also conducted a pooled data analysis with respect to oxygenation outcomes, comparing HFNC with COT and NIV, separately. COT showed its benefits in patients undergoing FOB for broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) or brushing for cytology, in those with peripheral arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation < 93% prior to the procedure or affected by obstructive disorder. HFNC is preferable over COT in patients with mild to moderate acute respiratory failure (ARF) undergoing FOB, by improving oxygen saturation and decreasing the episodes of desaturation. On the opposite, CPAP and NIV guarantee improved oxygenation outcomes as compared to HFNC, and they should be preferred in patients with more severe hypoxemic ARF during FOB.

Keywords: Bronchoscopy; Continuous positive airway pressure; High flow nasal cannula; Non-invasive ventilation; Oxygen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy / instrumentation
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases / therapy*
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / instrumentation
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / methods
  • Observational Studies as Topic / methods
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / instrumentation
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / methods*
  • Oxygen Saturation / physiology*
  • Pliability*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods