Outcomes of patients with non-diagnostic bronchoscopy A clinico-radiological comparison of patients with diagnostic and non-diagnostic bronchoscopy

Sindhaghatta Venkatram, Damaris Pena, Bharat Bajantri, Gilda Diaz-Fuentes

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Bronchoscopy is one of the most common diagnostic procedures in pulmonary practice. Data on the outcome of patients following a non-diagnostic bronchoscopy are sparse. Diagnostic yield depends on indication, the characteristics of patients, and the chest imaging. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of patients with a non-diagnostic bronchoscopy and to compare patients who had a diagnostic with those that had a non-diagnostic bronchoscopy. Retrospective, single-center study of adult patients who underwent bronchoscopy with transbronchial biopsy (TBBX) and/or endobronchial biopsy (EBBX), endobronchial ultrasound with transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA), or brushing. A strict definition for a “diagnostic” bronchoscopy was used. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed. A total of 684 patients were identified, 350 (51%) had a diagnostic procedure. Of the 334 patients with a non-diagnostic bronchoscopy, 196 (58.6%) were followed, but only 172 (88%) completed 1 year of follow-up. Most of the patients (57.8%) had resolution or stabilization of the condition; in the remaining patients, malignancy was most commonly diagnosed after further investigation followed by diffuse lung diseases and infections. Pulmonary tuberculosis was diagnosed in 8 patients. EBUS-TBNA and EBBX were the procedures associated with a diagnostic bronchoscopy. Presence of bilateral interstitial infiltrates predicted a nondiagnostic bronchoscopy. A significant number of patients with non-diagnostic bronchoscopy may have serious treatable disease that is identified upon further investigation. Close follow up of patients with a non-diagnostic procedure is warranted. Our study found no clear clinical or radiological predictors of diagnostic bronchoscopy. Abbreviations: AIDS = acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, CXR = chest roentgenogram, EBBX = endobronchial biopsy, EBUS = endobronchial ultrasound, FFB = flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy, OR = operating room, TBBX = transbronchial biopsy, TBNA = transbronchial needle aspiration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15585
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • bronchoscopy
  • endobronchial ultrasound
  • non-diagnostic
  • transbronchial biopsy
  • yield


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