Pre- and post-COVID practice of interventional pulmonology in adults in Portugal

F. Guedes, A. J. Ferreira, J. Dionísio, L. V. Rodrigues, A. Bugalho

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Introduction and objectives: There is a lack of information regarding bronchoscopy practice in adults in Portugal. Our objective was to obtain an overview of the characteristics, resources, techniques and behaviors in national interventional pulmonology (IP) units, before and after SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. Materials and Methods: An online survey was developed by an expert panel with a total of 46 questions comprising the specifications of each unit, namely physical space, equipment, staff, procedure planning, monitoring, technical differentiation, and numbers pre- and post-COVID-19. Forty-one interventional pulmonology centers were invited to participate between April and May 2021. Results: 37 units (90.2%) responded to the survey. The majority (64.9%) have a fully dedicated space with a weekly presence of ≥3 chest physicians (82.1%) and support of an anesthesiologist on specific days (48.6%). There is marked heterogeneity in the IP unit's equipment, and 56.8% acquired disposable bronchoscopes after COVID-19 pandemics. Pre-bronchoscopy hemogram, platelet count and coagulation tests are regularly asked by more than 90% of the units, even when deep sedation or biopsies are not planned. In 97.3% of cases, topical anesthesia and midazolam are utilized. Propofol (21.6%) and fentanyl (29.7%) are occasionally employed in some institutions. Most units use ancillary sampling techniques to diagnose central or peripheral lesions, with radial EBUS being used for guidance of distal procedures in 37.8% of centers, linear EBUS and EUS-B-FNA for mediastinal diagnosis and/or staging in 45.9% and 27.0% of units, respectively. Cryobiopsies are used by 21.6% of respondents to diagnose diffuse lung diseases. Rigid bronchoscopy is performed in 37.8% of centers. There was a decrease in the number of flexible (p < 0.001) and rigid (p = 0.005) bronchoscopies and an upscale of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 outbreak. Conclusions: IP units have variable bronchoscopic practices, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, they complied with most international recommendations, as elective procedures were postponed and PPE levels increased.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2022


  • Bronchoscopy
  • COVID-19
  • Pulmonology
  • Questionnaire
  • Survey


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