The Role of Bronchoscopy in the Management of Children With Cystic Fibrosis

J Bronchology Interv Pulmonol. 2023 Jul 1;30(3):258-267. doi: 10.1097/LBR.0000000000000874.


Background: Currently, no consensus guidelines recommend routine bronchoscopy procedure in cystic fibrosis (CF), as no evidence is available concerning its use as either a diagnostic or therapeutic tool. Its efficacy is controversial, and no randomized controlled prospective trials are available to check its effectiveness. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the effectiveness of bronchoscopy as a diagnostic/therapeutic tool in CF children and adolescents; and to verify the effect of serial bronchoscopy on lung disease progression in subjects with CF not responding to a single procedure.

Methods: Data of patients who received bronchoscopy at 2 Italian CF centers were collected. Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed during the procedure including airway clearance with mucolytics, inhaled antibiotics, and/or surfactant instillation.

Results: A total of 16 patients in center 1 and 17 in center 2 underwent, respectively, 28 and 23 bronchoscopic procedure in the study period. Five patients in each center underwent >1 procedure. All procedures were generally well tolerated. No patient required admission to the pediatric intensive therapy unit. In 19.6% of bronchoalveolar lavages, growth of Aspergillus fumigatus was evident, although not detected by sputum analyses. After the procedure, an increase in mean percent predicted forced expiratory volume in the 1 second >10% was observed, and a significant decrease in pulmonary exacerbations yearly was evident.

Conclusion: Based on the results, we suggest bronchoscopy is not to be considered an obsolete tool, and it remains useful in CF management, although in selected cases. We encourage to support longitudinal observational studies to standardize the procedure, focusing on the choice of drugs to be instilled, modalities and timing of serial bronchoscopy and subsequent follow-up in selected severe clinical conditions.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents