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Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy, and Sleep Medicine

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Department of Pediatrics

Pediatric Flexible Bronchoscopy Service
For appointments or to contact us, call 914-493-7585

Our physicians are experts in performing this often essential diagnostic test, using state of the art bronchoscopes available in appropriate sizes for children of all ages. 

Bronchoscopy can be an important component in the evaluation of:

  • Noisy breathing
  • Chronic cough
  • Asthma that is difficult to control
  • Airway malformations
  • Chronic or recurrent pneumonia
  • Airway masses or foreign bodies

These procedures are performed in the Pediatric Operating Rooms (for outpatients) or in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (for inpatients) of the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center.  During the procedure the child is unconscious in order to maintain patient comfort and make the procedure successful, with anesthesia performed by highly skilled Pediatric Anesthesiologists or Intensivists. 

A bronchoscope is a thin flexible fiberoptic instrument with a tiny camera and light at the tip, that is inserted into the airways through the nose, mouth, or tracheostomy.  It is performed for visualization of the major airways and to obtain samples for analysis.  This test may be done if your child has wheezing, chronic cough, lung infection or changes on a chest x-ray.

How is the procedure performed?
Your child will be given anesthesia before the test begins, and they are often also given medicine during the procedure to numb the nose and throat.   Our specialists then place the bronchoscope either through the nose or the mouth and then gradually move the scope down into the child’s windpipe and large airways.  Sometimes, the physician will spray normal saline (salt water) into these bronchial tubes to suction out any secretions and send them to the laboratory for analysis.

How should I prepare my child for bronchoscopy?

  • You will be instructed not to feed your child before the procedure.  This time will vary depending on the age of your child.
  • Feel free to bring your child's favorite toy or blanket for their comfort.
  • Please bring with you the names of all of your child’s medications and dosages, and give that list to the nurse when you arrive for the procedure.

What happens after the test?
Your child will be watched closely after the test until he or she is fully awake, which may take about one or two hours.  Most children can then go home after bronchoscopy although sometimes they have to stay in the hospital for further observation or if other procedures or plans have been made.

What should I expect when we go home?
Don’t be surprised if your child is still sleepy after they are discharged.  It is okay if they sleep.  You are welcome to feed your child when they wake up.  Sometimes it is recommended that you start with clear liquids to make sure your child is fully awake before introducing solid food.  There are no other routine limitations on your child’s activities.  Ask you child’s pediatric pulmonologist to be on the safe side.

Some children develop a fever the night after bronchoscopy is performed, so make sure you are prepared with either acetaminophen or other pain relievers.  Ask you physician about that.  You don’t need to wake your child up to check their fever.  If they don’t wake up on their own, then it does not need to be treated.  If the fever persists more than 24 hours, call your pediatric pulmonologist or pediatrician and let them know.
Sometimes cultures and other tests are obtained with bronchoscopy, in which case you should check in with your pediatric pulmonologist to learn the results. 

When should I call my child’s doctor?
Of course, feel free to call us at 914-493-7585 24/7 if you have any concerns after bronchoscopy.  And certainly you should call us is your child seems to be having any trouble breathing.