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British Lung Foundation
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Bronchoscopy!!!! HELP-ADVICE

I have to get a bronchoscopy done on Friday and I am so afraid of being put to sleep under general anesthetic and of having sedation! Doctors said I can do it without general anesthetic and sedation. I’ve read about some people doing it without sedation and just having the throat spray. But I’m worried if I can handle that. Will it hurt? Will I be able to breath? Have any of you got it without sedation and just the throat spray? Please help me!! God bless

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You can have sedation instead with an anesthetic for the throat. It should not be painful at all.

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Thank you 2greys! If I got it with just the anesthetic for the throat it would be okay? Would I be able to breathe still?

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Yes you can still breathe, it is just a very thin fiber optic tube, it would certainly be best for you to have sedation, where you are just drowsy but not asleep.

healthline.com/health/bronc...

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Thanks 2greys,

I am honestly afraid even to have conscious sedation. I would prefer to just have the anesthetic for my throat. I always have bad side effects to medicines and one time had an anaphylactic allergy to codeiene and almost died. This has evoked a lot of fear in me to be put to sleep or have the medications that sedate me. Do you think if I opted to have it with just the throat spray I would be okay? Thanks and God bless

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That would be up to the technician/doctor performing the procedure and whether you are able to keep still and more importantly not cough. There is usually an antidote to any sedative used and any adverse reaction can be dealt with very quickly.

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Hello Tmckinney312, if a bronchoscopy is where they put stuff into your lung to determine the extent of damage to the bronchi, then yes I had one without being sedated. I’m 72 now but was only around 28 when I had the procedure. I can’t say it’s painful but it is uncomfortable and a bit scary. The main thing I remember is the doctor telling me not to cough. It is over fairly quickly (but seems like forever) and you will be okay. Try not to stress about it. X

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Thank you so much dimarx!

That is good to know, do you remember if you could breathe while it was happening? Or if you felt like you couldn’t?

God bless!

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Well you can breathe, they only do one lung at a time 😂 but no deep breaths of course. The urge to cough is there though. It isn’t a pleasant experience but you will cope. I had no idea what to expect when I had it. Think about it as something that will help you or help the doctors treat your condition. Best wishes x

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Thanks Dimarx :). Did they go through your nose or your throat? Did you feel short of breath at all or was it more just uncomfortable? Also how did the throat numbing feel? Was it hard not to cough? Sorry for all of my questions!

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Now you are testing my memory! 🤔 through my nose? Your breathing is compromised but you can breathe. you do feel like coughing but you will be okay. Don’t remember any throat numbing. But it was a long time ago maybe different procedures now? Try to put it out of your mind and relax a bit. D

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Okay! Thank you :) from my understand they take a long tube with a little camera and put it down through your nose or throat to your lungs to see them. They will spray a numbing spray in your throat and nose beforehand so you don’t gag.

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I had a bronchoscopy last year and they didn’t offer anaesthetic, only sedative, but I went to sleep anyway. No discomfort of any sort. I hope all goes well xx

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Thanks Carnival :) I’m thinking to get it without sedation but nervous if it will be intolerable

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I had Complete Sedation(throat spray first) for my valve procedure, Took half hour to complete, never felt any after affects. That was last June, Now waiting to have a CT Scan to establish if they(Valves) Need to be cleaned or changed. I always said I would have valves again with Heavy Sedation. I await the outcome of CT Scan. Don't fight it, Don't be Frightened. Good Luck. xxx

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Good luck Hacienda! I will pray for you :)

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I had a bronchoscopy without GA and to be honest I wish they had knocked me out! It's not a pleasant experience. The throat spray makes you feel like you can't swallow so you feel like you're drowning! I panicked and was gagging a lot. Luckily there was a nurse there who managed to calm me down before I jumped off the table! If you can handle it it's quite a short procedure so just try and remain calm. Good luck x

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Hey Staff,

I am so sorry about your experience. Did you have it with conscious sedation or just with the throat spray? Even though you felt like you couldn’t breathe, could you? Once you calmed down were you fine for the rest of it? How long did yours take? When they went down with the scope is that when you couldn’t breathe or when they originally sprayed? Thanks for your insight God bless you!

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Trust your Doctors

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With sedation it is over very quickly and I don’t recall a thing from the experience which by the way, included an irrigation to get rid of devilish bugs !!!

Try to work on your breathing and start NOW with Diaphragmatic breathing to begin to reduce your anxiety levels.

Wishing you well.

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I have had this procedure done 3 times and each time they used a Throat spray it was painless

You could actually see on the screen the inside of your Lungs

Don’t worry about it easy Peasey

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Hey Jasper! The times you had it done it was without sedative and just with throat spray? Could you breathe okay while it was happening? Also did you panic at all? What did it feel like when they put the scope down and how long was the procedure? Did you cough? Sorry for all my questions :(

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Never bothered me in anyway people just like to scare people

My breathing was ok I also never had a problem with any panicking

The only thing I didn't like was the needle they have to put inbthe back of your hand in case they need to sedate you

I have always found those butterfly needles uncomfortable but like I said hi had it done 3 times and watched it All on a screen whilst they took biopsy samples

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Okay great!! Thank you so much Jasper you have calmed my nerves a lot! I have been so nervous since so many people have been saying it’s bad. I have one last question, how did it feel to have the numbing in your throat? Did your throat feel like it was closed? Thanks and God bless you

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No it was starange really because you knew you had this treatment etc you didn’t feel anything to bother about but you are told that you can’t drink anything for a few hours I think it may have been 2 to 3 hours Max

Put it this way I was a sales executive selling new and used cars after each procedure I went straight back to work and was talking to customers within about 60 minutes of leaving the hospital I had all these procedures done on a medical Trials for COPD for Glenfield Hospital I then asked afterwards if I could see a specialist about my illness and it’s gone on from there that’s over 12 years now still here had two lung reduction operations but I’m now on Ambligatury Oxygen still here to tell the tale

Good luck with it all xx

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Jasper, took your advice and had the procedure done without sedation today! It went great, it was over before I knew it. It was uncomfortable for me when the tube was passing my voice box into my lung but it was only for a moment and it was nothing crazy. I have had way worse experiences in my life. Thank you so much for your advice. I have written you down on my prayer list as well! I’m going to pray for your lung and breathing health. God bless!

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Hi

My son has had this four times with throat spray and sedation. I think it's best to have sedation as it helps you to relax it doesn't put you out just makes you more comfortable during the procedure, it doesn't take too long of course with sedation you will need to have someone with you to take you home. Good luck

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I wanted to update this post! I got my bronch done with no sedation! Clear results thank God!

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WELL ✔✔ DONE ✔✔

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Hi I got two done over the last 12 months as i cant go under sedation and only has the throat spray. In my experience it all depends on the people who are doing it. Unfortunately the first doctor wasn't good and I felt like a guinea pig and quite panicked/traumatised. The second time was much better but it was clearly because of the quality of the doctor and health people involved and they were aware of how traumatised I was from the first one. I also trusted them implicitly as I spoke at length with them (weeks) prior to the procedure and they also used a laser to burn out somethings in my stomach so the procedure was longer. However I cant say it was pleasant and it is uncomfortable and can be distressing. It all depends on your threshold. Its not really hurtful as such just really uncomfortable and you have to keep your natural tendencies in check. Being relaxed as you can helps a lot as its only briefly you may feel uncomfortable breathing as the pipe goes down and is coming up again but once its is in its more wind and stuff that can occur. You are strong enough to do it dont have any doubts about that as people are much stronger than they realise as I found out but its natural to be scared. I nearly squeezed the hand of the kind nurse holding my hand and Im a man. It was like the scene out of only fools and horses when Raquel is giving birth squeezing Dels hand. Don't be afraid to talk and ask for help during it. If you have made all your final arrangements, which is just good life planning anyway, and you trust your doctor when they say you can have a general anaesthetic I think I would go that way as there is a risk no matter what you do. One important thing to remember is you look young from your picture and I am 57 and was therefore not afraid to say stop, ask questions or assert my wishes forcefully if necessary. Younger people may not always feel comfortable doing this but I would strongly recommend it. You don't have to be rude but just don't let yourself be railroaded. At the end of the day its vitally important that YOU feel comfortable and in control of the process and even if that means waiting a little bit longer until your ready then that's what I would suggest. Do you also understand clearly if and what the purpose of the bronchoscopy is. I was diagnosed without a biopsy. I hope this is helpful but the procedure they did for me did help a lot.

God Bless and good luck

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