Having a Bronchoscopy


New member
Last November I went into the hospital for my first bronchoscopy ever. We had found that part of one lung had collapsed, and my doctor hoped that they could flush out the mucus plug with water. They also tried putting a stint in (like the ones used for arteries) to keep the airway open. My experience was pretty awful, although I wouldn't tell anyone else not to do it. All kinds of things can affect the success of a bronchoscopy. The thing I wanted to warn you all about is the fevers that come after a bronchoscopy. Because they are putting a scope down your windpipe into your lungs, your body will react by initiating a fever to kill off any bacteria that might have gotten into your lungs during the procedure. And let me tell you, that is one wicked fever. Since the first bronchoscopy was unsuccessful (I started involuntarily coughing during the procedure and they had to bail out), I had to have a second one ten days later. So having had two similar experiences, here's what I'll tell you. In both cases, the fever hit about 45 minutes after I got back from surgery to my room. One minute I was fine, and the next I was shivering uncontrollably and afraid I was going to die. Unfortunately, the staff at my hospital were not prepared for my fever, despite the fact that it is very common side effect after that procedure. Literally, a cup of hot water to drink (to warm my core) would have done wonders. A couple of Tylenol (or any other fever reducer) would have done wonders. But they didn't do either. They piled blankets on me and let me suffer terribly for about an hour and a half. Finally, when it was subsiding a little, I had the presence of mind to ASK FOR the Tylenol, which helped a lot. Why didn't the nurses and doctors on the floor where CF patients are regular visitors know that I would need hot water and Tylenol after a bronchoscopy?????!!! All the regular pulmonary doctors came in my room and stood around while I lay suffering under a pile of blankets, but did NOTHING for me. Seriously, don't doctors know to give a patient a fever reducer when a patient has a fever??!!! When my regular CF doctor encouraged me to confront the Pulmonary doctors for doing nothing to help me, they just shrugged it off and said it was the nurses' job.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you're going to have a bronchoscopy, tell your nurse to get approval AHEAD OF TIME to give you Tylenol when you get back from the procedure. Also, have the nurse be ready to give you warm/hot water to drink. And most hospital floors have a blanket warmer. So have them get a few blankets in the warmer when you get back so that when the fever hits, you will be ready. You don't have to be miserable.


I'm really sorry you had to go through all this. I'm even more shocked that your doctors didn't forewarn you about the after affects of a Bronchoscopy as well. My doctors told me before I had mine that many times patients get sick, pneumonia, or even a flare up from having one. I did and my team was ready for it.

Since then I've been treated at a different hospital, I haven't had another Bronchoscopy done since changing hospitals, but have noticed the nursing staff on the inpatient CF floor is horrible. I'm finding that many CF patients have fevers at the start of IV medications, however, the nursing staff always seem unprepared for it. The first time I was treated for a fever, my nurse asked me "how do you know you have a fever?" I was nice about answering but I wanted to say " *Expletive* I'm 29 years old, I think I know when I have a fever."..lol. They don't have a blanket warmer on the floor and really didn't seem concerned despite my 103 fever. I had to ask and beg through my chills, tears, and pain for them to give me something. It's scary because the CF inpatient for adults is in a children's hospital wing. I would think these nurses would have caught on by now and realize that we can't always speak up for ourselves in certain situations. I've spoken to my doctor about this and have learned that before anything happens, to always have something written for pain or whatever just in case. Hopefully we CFers can bring more awareness and sensitivity to the doctors and nurses that take care of us so we're not put in these horrible situations.


Super Moderator
WOW! Thanks for the cautionary tale. Too bad it came at such a price. I started to require occasional hospital stays in my late thirties. My wife and I made a kit of various things that I might need on the way to the hospital and the stay. I refuse to be a patient patient and the time lag between a nurse call and the delivery of a request, delayed response in the recovery room and late pain meds after surgery or such has shaped the kit.

It struck me that you probably couldn't talk right after the bronchoscopy. Writing wasn't exactly possible either. I've had my share of shaking chills and standing to pee is definitely out. The action of a bronchoscopy, sucking up pockets of infection and the presence of the scope itself can cause a fever. I have to study a couple of studies done on the side effects of the procedure to say for certain but there's plenty of reason to expect an immediate fever response.

Sucking up pockets and plugs of infection is synonymous with draining an abscess only much more intense because of the close vascularity. Toxins and chemical signals immediately enter the blood stream and stimulates an immune response. What really gets me is the system of thyroid nodules and lymph nodes that surrounds the bronchials are known to cause a variety of reactions from a thyroid storm to instantaneous pernicious fevers. It's a delicate area of the body and the lining of the bronchials is designed to react to microscopic particles and the scope could stimulate a histamine response.

In short, shaking chills was more than adequate for the use of a fever breaker and nobody should have been wasting time. You don't say what your fever was, which probably means that nobody bothered to check. Many years ago I had pneumonia and the fever had hit 105.6°F before I responded and took Tylenol. The resulting neuropathy was epic. For three years after that moment of poor judgement I was just on the edge of jumping out of my skin. This is not a side effect you want or deserve.

I hope the bronchoscopy helped, good luck,


P.S. We eventually had a good hospital kit and a quality ear thermometer and a pulse-ox were staples. The art of taking a temperature has been lost. From the forehead rollers to ear thermometers, something is wrong with the technique. I get as much as a degree difference with my own thermometer and upon repeated test, so do they. The difference between 101°F and 102°F is huge.
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