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Technique for endoscopic resection of obstructive endobronchial malignancy

G Rakovich, MD, FRCSC, FACS
Epublication WebSurg.com, Nov 2012;12(11). URL: http://websurg.com/doi/vd01en3807

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  • 2012-11-09
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Invasion of the tracheo-bronchial tree by a malignant pulmonary lesion is the most frequent cause of bronchial obstruction in the adult. Malignant obstruction of major airways may require endoscopic resection for rapid palliation of dyspnea and obstructive pneumonitis. Patients should be evaluated with flexible bronchoscopy and computed tomography of the chest to assess the anatomy of the obstruction and demonstrate patent airway distally. This criterion is critical for optimal selection. Resection is carried out in the operating room under general anesthesia. It is important to emphasize that close collaboration between the surgical and anesthesia teams is essential at all times, as they are sharing responsibility for the airway. We use rigid bronchoscopy for piecemeal extraction of the lesion. Since moderate bleeding may be encountered, the clinician should be familiar with hemostatic manoeuvres including dabbing raw bronchial surfaces using the rigid bronchoscope, the use of epinephrine soaked pledgets, and irrigation using epinephrine solution. Hemostasis may also be accomplished using energy sources delivered through a flexible bronchoscope, including electrocautery, argon beam, and Nd:YAG laser. All energy sources should be used with caution within the airway to minimize the risk of complications. Depending on the individual patient, endobronchial resection may be combined with airway stenting and/or postoperative chemoradiotherapy. In carefully selected patients, this will result in adequate palliation of symptoms. Acknowledgment: we would like to thank Nathalie Leroux RN and Suzanne Desbiens RN for their continued support.