Safety of research bronchoscopy in mild-moderate and severe asthma
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7th Pneumonology Medicine Department and Asthma Centre, Sotiria Chest Hospital, Athens, Greece
Athens University Pneumonology Medicine Department, Sotiria Chest Hospital, Athens, Greece
Mina Gaga   

7th Pneumonology Medicine Dept. and Asthma Centre 152 Mesogeion Ave., Athens 115 27, Greece
Pneumon 2010;23(1):41–47
Fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FB) as a research tool has contributed considerably to the understanding of the pathogenesis of asthma, but there are concerns regarding its safety, especially in patients with severe asthma. The aim of this study was to document safety data on FB and sampling techniques in asthma research.

A total of 75 subjects (36 mild-moderate asthmatics, 25 severe asthmatics and 14 healthy control subjects), participating in three studies, underwent research FB. Depending on the study, endobronchial and nasal biopsy, bronchioalveolar lavage (BAL) and bronchial brushing were performed, according to established guidelines. Pulmonary function tests were performed prior to bronchoscopy and 2 hours after the procedure. Daily peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements were recorded 5 days before and 5 days after bronchoscopy in the 30 patients participating in the first two studies.

FB was tolerated well. None of the patients or healthy control subjects developed severe adverse reactions during or after bronchoscopy. Only two patients with severe asthma presented mild adverse events; one demonstrated immediate and complete occlusion of the middle lobe segmental bronchial lumen after BAL instillation and another developed mild desaturation (SaO2 91%). There were no significant changes in FEV1 and PEF measurements after bronchoscopy.

Research FB can be performed safely in patients with asthma, including those with severe disease, with careful assessment and adherence to guidelines.

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