Elderly patients generally show a good tolerance of flexible bronchoscopy (FBS). Patients’ age has not emerged as a specific risk factor for bronchoscopy complications; FBS is well tolerated in the elderly, so that major modifications of the procedure because of patients’ age alone are generally unnecessary. (Clin Chest Med 2001;22.2:301). In contrast, Davies et al. reported that 21% of patients over 60 yrs developed potentially serious, albeit transient, cardiac ischaemic events/rhythm disturbances (ERJ 1997;10:695). The aim of our study was to evaluate predictors of complications in FBS related to the patients’ age.
We retrospectively analyzed clinical and functional characteristics, as well as bronchoscopic procedures referring to 88 patients, divided into two groups: group A): 43 patients £ 65-yrs old and group B: 45 patients 3 66-yrs old. Collapse or consolidation were the most common indications for FBS in elderly patients (56%), whereas indications in group A were more heterogeneous.
2 out of 43 patients of group A (4.65%) and 9 out of 45 patients of group B (20%) showed minor complications during or after FBS. The greater prevalence of complications in the elderly was related to the greater number of diagnostic procedures in these patients (48 vs. 30) and to the comorbidities which were present in 9 out of 45 patients of group B: it is worth mentioning that no elderly patient suffered from complications in absence of comorbidity.
Elderly age is not a risk factor for complications in flexible bronchoscopy. If any, they are due to the comorbidities and to the greater number of diagnostic procedures, related to the different pattern of clinical indications.
Our paper analyze the predictors of complications during flexible bronchoscopy and the relationship with patient age.
Mario Polverino, None.