Indications

Diagnostic

• Collection of microbiological ± cytological specimens (by broncho- alveolar lavage, protected brush specimen, biopsy).

• Cause of bronchial obstruction (e.g. clot, foreign body, neoplasm).

• Extent of inhalation injury.

• Diagnosis of ruptured trachea/bronchus.

Therapeutic

• Clearance of secretions, inhaled vomitus, etc.

• Removal of lumen-obstructing matter (e.g. mucus plug, blood clot, food, tooth). Proximal obstruction rather than consolidation is suggested by the radiological appearance of a collapsed lung/lobe and no air bronchogram.

• Cleansing — removing soot or other toxic materials, irrigation with saline.

• Directed physiotherapy ± saline to loosen secretions.

• Directed placement of balloon catheter to arrest pulmonary bleeding.

• To aid difficult endotracheal intubation.

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