Patient's Guide to Heart Transplant Surgery
For those having heart-lung transplants, periodic bronchoscopies are done to assess your new lung(s) for signs of infection and/or rejections. The bronchoscopy is done in the bronchoscopy suite, operating room, or at your bedside. The procedure involves placing a long tube into your nose, after giving you some local anesthetic to numb your nose and back of throat. The tube is passed down your throat and into your lung(s).
The bronchoscopy may make you cough and gag a bit until the doctor passes the tube into your throat and goes into the lungs. You may ask the doctor to give you medicine to relax you before the bronchoscopy.
The bronchoscopy allows us to see if you have any obvious infection in your lung(s) and allows us to observe the area where your new lung(s) is (are) attached to your trachea. We may also get specimens to check for infection. In rare cases, the doctor may actually get pieces of lung tissue to examine under a microscope to check for rejection or infection in the tissue.
Even patients not undergoing heart-lung transplant may need to have a bronchoscopy if they develop a pneumonia following heart transplantation. The procedure is the same for all patients.
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