Bronchoscopy in the management of children from developing countries undergoing congenital heart surgery

Michael Schnapper, Ilan Dalal, Avigdor Mandelberg, Alona Raucher Sternfeld, Lior Sasson, Keren Armoni Domany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To study the clinical characteristics and impact of bronchoscopy in children from developing countries, referred for cardiac surgery, through the "Save a Child's Heart" (SACH) organization. Methods: We performed a retrospective hospital-chart review of SACH children (0–18 years old) referred between 2006 and 2021 who underwent fiberoptic bronchoscopy. We examined demographics, congenital-heart-disease (CHD) types, bronchoscopy's indications and findings, subsequent recommendations, number of ventilation, and intensive-care-unit days. The primary outcome was percent changes in management and diagnosis, following the bronchoscopy. We included a control group matched-for-age and CHD type, who did not undergo bronchoscopy. Results: We performed 82 bronchoscopies in 68 children: 18 (26.5%) preoperatively; 46 (67.6%) postoperatively; and four (5.9%) both. The most prevalent CHDs were Tetralogy-of-Fallot (27.9%) and ventricular-septal-defect (19.1%). The main indications were persistent atelectasis (41%) and mechanical ventilation/weaning difficulties (27.9%). Bronchoscopic evaluations revealed at least one abnormality in 51/68 (75%) children. The most common findings were external airway compression (23.5%), bronchomalacia (19.1%), and mucus secretions (14.7%). Changes in management were made in 35 (51.4%) cases, with a major change made in 14/35 (40%) children. Compared to the control group, the children undergoing bronchoscopy were both ventilated longer (median 6 vs. 1.5 days, p < 0.0001) and stayed longer in the intensive care unit (median 1.5 vs. 18.5 days, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: A bronchoscopy is an important tool in the diagnosis and management of the unique group of children from developing countries with CHD referred for cardiac surgery. The results of our study, reveal a more complicated clinical course in children requiring bronchoscopy compared to controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1196-1201
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • International Health
  • bronchoscopy
  • congenital malformations
  • critical care


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