Fiberoptic bronchoscopy and transbronchial needle aspiration were performed on 50 occasions in 47 afebrile patients. The aspirations were followed by endobronchial or transbronchial biopsies in 22 patients, as well as bronchial brushings and washings where appropriate. Blood for cultures was drawn at 5 and 30 minutes following needle aspiration, as well as at the time of any temperature above 38 degrees C during the 24 hours following the procedure. In five (10 percent) of the 50 cases, there was temperature greater than 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F) in the 24 hours following the bronchoscopy; in no patient were cultures of blood positive, whether done early after the procedure or at the time of fever. We conclude that transbronchial needle aspiration, a new procedure gaining widespread popularity in diagnostic thoracic medicine, is not associated with clinically detectable bacteremia. This procedure should not require antimicrobial prophylaxis in patients susceptible to endocarditis.