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At UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this test and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the procedure and how you can help.
In a bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ka-pee), a long flexible tube with a tiny camera, called a bronchoscope (BRONK-a-scope), is passed through the nose or mouth into the lungs. The doctor can see what the vocal cords, trachea (TRAKE-ee-uh) and the airways in the lungs look like.
Before scheduling your child’s bronchoscopy, it’s very important to tell the doctor if your child is taking any blood thinners, aspirin, Plavix, or other medication that might slow blood clotting. These medications need to be stopped 5 to 7 days before the bronchoscopy test, and the doctor will tell you if it’s safe for your child to be off these medications for this length of time.
When sedation is needed, there are important rules for eating and drinking that must be followed in the hours before the test. One business day before your child’s test, you will receive a phone call from a nurse between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m. (Nurses do not make these calls on weekends or holidays.) Please have paper and a pen ready to write down these important instructions.
For children older than 12 months:
For infants under 12 months:
For all children:
The flexible bronchoscopy is usually done in an operating room (OR) at UPMC Children’s Hospital. The bronchoscopy may be done as an outpatient test through the hospital’s Same Day Surgery Center or while your child is a patient in the hospital. If your child is in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the bronchoscopy can be done right in the ICU bed without moving him or her.
If your child is having an outpatient bronchoscopy, please allow extra time for driving and parking.
After you have registered your child at the desk, you will be asked to sit in the waiting area.
You and your child will be moved to a holding room near the OR. There might be other patients and parents in the holding area at the same time. You and your child will meet with the actual anesthesia team who will be giving the anesthesia.
If your child is very scared or upset, the anesthesia team might give a special medication to help him or her relax while still in the holding room. This medication may be given by mouth or sprayed into the nose to make him or her sleepy. This medication takes effect in about 10 to 15 minutes. When the operating room is ready, your child will be taken to the OR and you will be directed to the OR waiting room.
After the bronchoscopy, your child will be moved to the recovery room. You will be called so that you can be there as he or she wakes up.
After the flexible bronchoscopy, your child might feel tired for several hours and might have a sore throat, a cough and/or some blood in his or her saliva (spit) when he or she coughs. These should go away by the next day. If they don’t, you should contact the doctor’s office.
About half of the children who have had a bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) will develop a low-grade fever 4 to 8 hours afterward. This fever is a normal response of the body and can be treated with Tylenol®. If your child develops a fever that is higher than 102.5 degrees F or 39.1 C, or does not respond to Tylenol, you should call the hospital and ask for the pediatric pulmonologist on call.
All medical tests carry some risks. Although the risks from a flexible bronchoscopy are very low, you should know about the possible complications. They are:
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor or nurse needs to know about, please call the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at UPMC Children’s before the test and ask to speak with a nurse. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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