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When you breathe, air passes through your trachea and bronchi and into your lungs. A bronchoscopy lets your doctor examine these airways and take samples of lung fluids and tissues.

How should I prepare for bronchoscopy?
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the test, unless told otherwise by your doctor. Do not smoke for at least 48 hours before the test. You may be given a sedative 30-60 minutes before the test or during the test. This will help you relax.

A local anesthetic spray may be used to numb your nose and throat. If you have had any allergic reaction to local anesthesia, let your doctor and nurse know before the procedure.

What will happen during the Bronchoscopy?

  • You will be asked to lie on your back with your head slightly raised.
  • A doctor will ask you to gargle with a local anesthetic and will spray a local anesthetic into the back of your throat.
  • The doctor may also spray a local anesthetic in both nostrils to help prevent you from gagging and coughing during the test. The doctor may also apply a gel into your nose to numb the lining in your nose.
  • The doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube (bronchoscope) into your nose or mouth. It is about the thickness of a lead pencil, with a tiny light on the end. A local anesthetic will also be given through the bronchoscope. You will be able to breathe even when the tube is in place.
  • If you are nervous, the doctor will give you a sedative by injection into your vein. The procedure may be uncomfortable but it is not painful. Coughing is expected during the procedure. If coughing is troublesome, the doctor will add anesthetic medicine.
  • The test usually takes about 30-40 minutes.
What will happen after the test?
  • Sometimes a chest x-ray is taken after the test.
  • Do not eat or drink until the anesthetic wears off. Wait until your cough and swallowing reflexes have returned. This may take several hours.
  • You may cough up a small amount of blood for a day or more.
  • You may also have a sore throat. A slight fever sometimes occurs within 24 hours. These effects are not unusual and will go away in a few days.

Call your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fever over 101 F or fever that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • Coughing up clots or large amount of blood

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