Flexible bronchoscopy is safe and effective in adult subjects supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Previous studies have demonstrated the safety of flexible bronchoscopy (FB) in mechanically ventilated subjects. However, the safety of FB in adult subjects receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has not been described previously. METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted of all adult subjects who underwent FB while receiving ECMO support at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014. Physiologic variables, pre- and post-FB ECMO, and ventilator settings were recorded. RESULTS: 79 adult subjects underwent FB receiving ECMO with a total of 223 bronchoscopies. The most common indications for bronchoscopy included diagnostic evaluation of infection in subjects with pneumonia (29%) and clearance of excessive secretions (22%). In 70% of subjects, moderate or greater amounts of secretions were noted. FB yielded positive culture data in 37 subjects (47%), which resulted in a change to the antibiotic regimen in 14 subjects (38%) with positive culture data. No significant differences in mean PaO2/FIO2, mean ECMO flow, mean sweep gas, ventilator settings, or hemodynamic parameters (heart rate, oxygen saturation, and mean blood pressure) were noted before and after FB. Complications were mild and transient: blood-tinged secretions after FB in 21% cases, which resolved spontaneously, intraprocedural hypoxemia in 2.2% of cases, and dysrhythmia in <1% of cases. There were no episodes of ECMO cannula dislodgement or inadvertent extubation. CONCLUSIONS: FB can be used safely in adult subjects supported with ECMO and is not associated with significant hemodynamics changes, bleeding, or mechanical complications during ECMO support.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sharma NS; Peters T; Kulkarni T; Hoopes CW; Bellot SC; Wille KM; Diaz-Guzman E
  • Start Page

  • 646
  • End Page

  • 651
  • Volume

  • 61
  • Issue

  • 5