Diagnostic bronchoscopy is an effective tool for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its related diseases, according to a new systematic review and meta-analysis.
“The major complication rate of diagnostic bronchoscopy in patients with COPD was acceptable and low,” write Dr. Congcong Li and others in a study out of China published in Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine.
Because COPD is a major risk factor for lung cancer and infection and often coexists with other diseases, there was concern that the weaker status of those patients could lead to more serious complications when bronchoscopy was performed.
COPD refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems for an estimated 16 million Americans who suffer from the affliction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC).
The research examined 18 trials and found the major complication rate of bronchoscopy to be about 4.3 percent. Patients experiencing a COPD flareup showed a higher complication rate of 7.8 percent. The use of sedative medicine also was related to more complications, the authors write.
These findings “reminded us to be more cautious when conducting bronchoscopies in this patient population,” the researchers add.
COPD was the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2018, based on the most current statistics available.
As baby boomers age, COPD has become a growing problem, and respiratory therapists are increasingly taking on the role of COPD navigators who help patients get proper treatment, along with education and follow up care to try to prevent additional flareups of the disease.
Worldwide, COPD is expected to become the leading cause of death by 2033, according to doctors S.A. Quaderi and J.R. Hurst in the “Unmet Global Burden of COPD” in Global Health, Epidemiology and Genomics.
“Given the high and rising global burden of COPD, a revolution in the diagnosis and management of COPD and exacerbations of COPD in low and middle income countries (LMICs) must be an urgent priority,” those authors write.