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Childrens Services

Bronchoscopy for children in the afternoon

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

What is a Bronchoscopy?

A Bronchoscopy is a test, which enables the doctor to look at the back of your child’s throat and breathing tubes (larynx and bronchi) while they are asleep. A thin flexible tube is inserted into your child’s nose and down the back of the throat into the lungs. If your child has a breathing infection at the time of the procedure in the two weeks before the appointment date, please contact the department on the number at the end of this leaflet. Your child should not have any antibiotics in the two weeks prior to the procedure. However, if your child is ill and the GP or another hospital doctor feels they need to commence antibiotics, please ask them to contact your consultant before starting the course.

Why is my child having this procedure done?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your child may have already had a chest x-ray that did not give the doctor enough information to make a firm diagnosis. This procedure is done to give us more information to help us make that diagnosis.

What will happen to my child?Show [+]Hide [-]

You will receive a letter from the consultant’s secretary stating the ward your child is to be admitted onto. It would normally be Ward 8, Great North Children’s Hospital, at the R.V.I. but please read your letter carefully. If you require transport into the hospital, you should contact your GP’s surgery as soon as you get the letter to allow sufficient time for arrangements to be made

Staff from the ward will ring the evening before the admission to answer any queries you may have. Please ensure that the hospital has your current contact number in your child’s notes.

You will have to starve your child of food and drink. You child should have nothing to eat and no formula milk to drink from 7.00am on the day of the procedure. This included chewing gum and sweets. Infants may take breast milk up to 9.00am.

Clear fluids should be taken until 11.00am. Clear fluids are water or dilute Blackcurrant only and you should encourage your child to drink until that time. When you arrive, the nurse will record your child’s weight, temperature, pulse and breathing rate. The nurse will also apply EMLA local anaesthetic cream (magic cream) on your child’s hands/arms in preparation for the injection, which makes them go to sleep. Please tell the nurse if your child is unable to have this cream for any reason.

Will I be able to go with my child to theatre?Show [+]Hide [-]

When it is time, you and your child will be escorted to theatre.

For the over 1 year olds, one parent is allowed in the anaesthetic room to stay with the child until they are asleep. For the safety of the child, the under 1 year olds will be taken directly into theatre to be anaesthetised.

The nurse will then take you back to the ward to wait for the procedure to be completed. The anesthetist will visit your child before theatre. Your named nurse will inform you when your child is ready to be collected from theatre and she will escort you back to collect your child. The procedure only takes about 15/20 minutes, but your child may be away from the ward for about an hour.

What happens when my child comes back from theatre?Show [+]Hide [-]

On return to the ward, your child may be upset and confused and they may be thirsty and disorientated. This is normal and you should try not to upset yourself too much, as your child will sense your distress as well.

While in theatre your child’s throat is ‘sprayed’ with a local anaesthetic. On return to the ward, the nurse will inform you of the time that the sprayed will have worn off and when you can offer your child a drink. Please offer your child a dummy or soother if they use one.

Once your child is drinking, they can have some light food, which the ward will provide.

When will I be able to go home with my child?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your child will need to have been seen by the doctor, had something to eat and drink and acting normally for them before you will be able to go home. If your child like particular food or has a special diet, please could you bring a supply with you.

Your child will be sleepy for some time after the procedure but most children should be able to return home in 2-3 hours.

Some children for various reasons (see below) and babies under 4 months will have to stay overnight. It is advisable that you do come prepared to stay overnight. One parent will be able to stay overnight with your child.

Is there any reason why we will not be able to go home on the same day as the procedure?


Discharge can be delayed if your child is:

  • still very sleepy
  • not taking diet and fluids
  • has any breathing difficulties
  • has a temperature or
  • is going to need to continue with more treatment such as medicines into a vein.

However, the nurses on the ward will discuss with you any changes to your child’s discharge plans.

Are there any side effects or risks to this procedure?Show [+]Hide [-]

The consultant will have already discussed with you about the small risk of having an anaesthetic during your clinic visit.

In addition, some of the children who undergo this procedure will develop a raised temperature. The nurses will check for this and give your child the appropriate medicine. If your child’s temperature remains high, then we may suggest that you stay overnight.

Your child may also cough more than usual and for some weeks after the procedure.

Will a doctor see me before going home?Show [+]Hide [-]

You will see the doctor before you go home who will discuss with you what they have found.

Please arrange to go home by car, as it is not advisable to use public transport after an anaesthetic. Ambulances transport home can only be provided for patients who have arrived via ambulance transport and the Trust cannot authorize/pay for taxis home.

If when you go home, you feel your child is not well or you are at all worried, please do not hesitate to contact the ward you have just been discharged from. They will either advice you over the phone, suggest you contact your GP or may ask you to return to the ward.

Is there anything I should look for when we get home?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your child may have a slight temperature or discomfort in their throat. If they do, you should give them a mild pain relief (what you would normally give to your child when they are in pain at home). It is advisable to have pain relief medication at home prior to the admission hover if you do not have any please inform the nurse on your arrival

Your child may also cough a little more for some days and occasionally for a few weeks due to the irritation from the tube used when your child was asleep and from the procedure.

What should I do if I am worried about my child when I get home?

If you are at all worried, concerned or just have a query about your child when you get home, please do not hesitate to contact the ward at any time day or night or a member of the Respiratory Team. The numbers are below.

We hope this information been helpful to you but it is by no means a replacement for talking to either the doctor or nurse. If you would like more information or advice, please contact either:

  • The main switchboard for the hospital, 0191 233 6161 and ask for the ward your child was on
  • The Respiratory Doctor’s secretary on 0191 282 0807/282 5089 Monday - Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm
  • The Children’s Respiratory Nurse Specialist on 0191 282 5558 Monday - Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm

More informationShow [+]Hide [-]

You can download a PDF version of the Bronchoscopy information leaflet.

You can get more information about Bronchoscopy at the website.

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