, Volume 196, Issue 6, pp 729–736 | Cite as

The Diagnostic Yield, Safety, and Impact of Flexible Bronchoscopy in Non-HIV Immunocompromised Critically Ill Patients in the Intensive Care Unit

  • Mazen O. Al-QadiEmail author
  • Rodrigo Cartin-Ceba
  • Rahul Kashyap
  • Sumanjit Kaur
  • Steve G. Peters



Flexible bronchoscopy (FB) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) have major roles in the evaluation of parenchymal lung diseases in immunocompromised patients. Given the limited evidence, lack of standardized practice, and variable perception of procedural safety, uncertainty still exists on what constitutes the best approach in critically ill patients with immunocompromised state who present with pulmonary infiltrates in the era of prophylactic antimicrobials and the presence of new diagnostic tests.


To evaluate the diagnostic yield, safety and impact of FB and BAL on management decisions in immunocompromised critically ill patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).


A prospective, observational study of 106 non-HIV immunocompromised patients admitted to the intensive care unit with pulmonary infiltrates who underwent FB with BAL.


FB and BAL established the diagnosis in 38 (33%) of cases, and had a positive impact on management in 44 (38.3%) of cases. Escalation of ventilator support was not required in 94 (81.7%) of cases, while 18 (15.7%) required invasive and 3 (2.6%) required non-invasive positive pressure ventilation after the procedure. Three patients (2.6%) died within 24 h of bronchoscopy, and 46 patients (40%) died in ICU. Significant hypoxemia developed in 5% of cases.


FB can be safely performed in immunocompromised critically ill patients in the ICU. The yield can be improved when FB is done prior to initiation of empiric antimicrobials, within 24 h of admission to the ICU, and in patients with focal disease.


Bronchoscopy Bronchoalveolar lavage Immunocompromised Critical care Intensive care 


Author Contributions

MOA, RCC, SGP: performed the literature searches, contributed in the study design, the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, and writing of the manuscript. RK: participated in data collection, analysis and interpretation. SK: participated in data collection. MOA, RCC, RK, SK, SGP: revised the manuscript.


This publication was supported by Grant Number UL1 TR000135 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of NIH. The sponsors had no role in the design of the study, the collection and analysis of the data, or the preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study, and the study was approved by the Mayo Foundation Institutional Review Board (IRB No. 13-004963). This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of MedicineYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Division of Critical Care, Department of AnesthesiaMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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