Study objective: To evaluate the contribution of flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FFB) and BAL to the clinical management of patients in a pediatric ICU (PICU).
Setting and design: A retrospective study based on medical records in a six-bed pediatric ICU of a tertiary care children’s hospital serving as a referral center for airway surgery.
Patients and participants: One hundred consecutive infants and children hospitalized in a PICU, who underwent FFB with or without BAL.
Measurements and results: One hundred fifty-five procedures were performed, for the following causes: search for airways anatomic pathologies (114 of 155 procedures, 74%), including 55 procedures during the perioperative period of airway surgery; treatment of atelectasis (35 of 155 procedures, 22.5%); and BAL (30 of 155 procedures, 19%). Thirty-five percent of procedures had more than one cause. Airway pathology was observed in 79 of 114 procedures (69%). Management changed from conservative to surgical in 44 of 114 procedures (39%). In airway surgery cases, reoperation subsequent to postoperative FFB took place in 35%. BAL results changed antimicrobial treatment in 15 of 30 cases, with clinical improvement in 10 of 30 cases (33%). Treatment of atelectasis was successful in 26 of 35 cases (74.3%). No procedure-related mortality, life-threatening complications, or significant changes in patient status occurred.
Conclusions: FFB is an important and safe procedure in very sick infants and children with a variety of respiratory diseases, and significantly contributes to their management. FFB should be considered to be a PICU staff expertise.