Interventional bronchoscopy: 5-year experience at the Academic Hospital of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (AZ-VUB)

Acta Clin Belg. 1997;52(6):371-80. doi: 10.1080/17843286.1997.11718603.


Our experience with interventional bronchoscopic techniques in a University Hospital is described: in 93 patients during a 5-year period, 149 interventional procedures (i.e., Nd-YAG laser photoresection and/or airway stenting and/or balloon dilatation) have been performed. Laser resection was successful in relieving major symptoms (intractable dyspnea, hemoptysis or retro-obstructive complications) in 35/41 (85%) of malignant indications, and in 18/19 (94%) of benign obstructions. Major complications included one death (1.6%) early in the series, and major nonfatal hemorrhage in three patients (5%), all with malignant disease. In 31/35 (89%) of malignant central airway stenoses treated with stents, respiratory symptoms could be palliated successfully. Mean survival after stenting was 6 +/- 5.3 months. In 20/23 (87%) of benign tracheal stenoses, temporary or permanent stenting allowed for complete restoration of airway patency. The development of inexpensive and simplified insertion techniques for existing stents, and of a new (and even less expensive) type of tracheal stent has enabled the use of airway stenting in all categories of patients. Bronchoscopic balloon dilatation was helpful in the mechanical dilatation of stenoses, and in the unfolding of unopened stents. Finally, a plea for an organised referral system and for active collaboration between interventional bronchoscopy centers is made.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy*
  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Catheterization
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laryngostenosis / therapy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stents