Common reasons for needing a bronchoscopy

Common reasons for needing a bronchoscopy

Bronchoscopy is a valuable diagnostic and therapeutic tool that can provide critical insights into respiratory conditions.

At North Brisbane Sleep and Thoracic, we believe that collaboration between specialties is essential. As we continue to prioritise comprehensive patient care, we want to bring to your attention the importance of timely bronchoscopy referrals for certain cases.


Here are some common scenarios where a bronchoscopy might be indicated:

  • Persistent Unexplained Cough:

    Patients who present with a persistent and unexplained cough, especially if accompanied by hemoptysis or weight loss, may benefit from a bronchoscopy to investigate potential underlying causes such as malignancies, infections, or inflammatory conditions.

  • Recurrent Pneumonia:

    Patients experiencing recurrent pneumonia episodes may have an underlying anatomical or obstructive issue that can be identified and addressed through bronchoscopy.

  • Abnormal Chest Imaging Findings:

    Individuals with abnormal chest imaging findings, such as lung nodules, masses, or infiltrates, should be considered for bronchoscopy to obtain tissue samples for accurate diagnosis.

  • Suspected Lung Cancer and Histopathologic confirmation:

    Timely evaluation of patients with suspected or confirmed lung cancer is crucial. Bronchoscopy can aid in staging, obtaining tissue for histological diagnosis, and guiding further treatment decisions.

  • Confirmation of infected pathogen:

  • Persistent Atelectasis:

    When atelectasis persists despite conservative management, bronchoscopy can be instrumental in identifying and resolving the underlying cause, such as a bronchial obstruction.

  • Hemoptysis:

    Patients presenting with hemoptysis, whether mild or severe, should be promptly evaluated with bronchoscopy to identify the source of bleeding and facilitate appropriate intervention.

Other applications

Bronchoscopy can also be used to obtain samples of mucus or tissue, to remove foreign bodies or other blockages from the airways or lungs, or to provide treatment for lung problems.

During some procedures, special devices may be passed through the bronchoscope, such as a tool to obtain a biopsy, an electrocautery probe to control bleeding or a laser to reduce the size of an airway tumor. Special techniques are used to guide the collection of biopsies to ensure the desired area of the lung is sampled.

Endobronchial ultrasound EBUS

In people with lung cancer, a bronchoscope with a built-in ultrasound probe may be used to check the lymph nodes in the chest. This is called endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and helps doctors determine the appropriate treatment. EBUS may be used for other types of cancer to determine if the cancer has spread.

Knowing when to refer patients for a bronchoscopy can significantly impact their outcomes. If you encounter cases falling within the aforementioned scenarios, we encourage you to consider referring them to our respiratory clinic. Early intervention can contribute to more accurate diagnoses and improved patient outcomes.