Bronchoscopic practice in Japan: A survey by the Japan Society for Respiratory Endoscopy in 2010


Fumihiro Asano, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Gifu Prefectural General Medical Center, 4-6-1 Noishiki, Gifu 500-8717, Japan. Email:


Background and objective:  To ensure the safety of bronchoscopic practice, the Japan Society for Respiratory Endoscopy conducted a national survey to investigate the current state of procedure for this technique.

Methods:  A questionnaire survey about procedures carried out during the whole of the year 2010 was mailed to 538 facilities accredited by the society.

Results:  Responses were obtained from 511 facilities (95.0%). Rigid bronchoscopes were used in only 18.5% of the facilities, while mobile/thin bronchoscopes were used in ≥50%, and fluoroscopy systems were used in 99.8%. Biopsies were performed after discontinuation of therapy in patients receiving antiplatelet drugs and anticoagulants in 96.7% and 97.4% of the facilities, respectively. Atropine was administered for premedication in 67.5% of the facilities, a decrease from previous surveys. Intravenous sedation was given in 36.1% of the facilities. In 21.9% of these, the procedure was conducted in the outpatient clinic for ≥70% of patients. A bronchoscope was orally inserted in ≥70% of patients in 95.7% of the facilities. Intravenous access was maintained during the examination in 92.5% of the facilities, oxygen saturation was monitored during examinations in 99.0%, oxygen was administered in 97.6% and resuscitation equipment was available in 96%. In 98.6% of the facilities, bronchoscopes were disinfected using an automatic washing machine, with glutaraldehyde used in 42.2%.

Conclusions:  Japan-specific characteristics of bronchoscopic practice were identified. Whether procedures used in Japan meet international guidelines with respect to safety should be monitored continuously. In addition, a Japanese evidence-based consensus is needed.