Researchers conducted a survey of pulmonary physicians to assess their opinions regarding bronchoscopy in the elderly, given the aging of the US population and the frequency of lung illness, which necessitates diagnostic services in this group. Concerns about comorbidities, preprocedural testing, and perceptions of procedural complication rates were among the topics of discussion. They polled 1,896 pulmonary doctors through e-mail from November 2013 to January 2014 on their views on bronchoscopy in the elderly. The survey was sent to over 1900 physicians, with a response rate of 12%. Approximately half of the respondents worked in academia (as attendings or fellows), while the other half worked in private practice.
The majority of respondents believed that bronchoscopy is not contraindicated by age, that patients did not require routine preprocedural testing, and that excellent functional status played a role in procedural safety decision-making. The majority of responders conducted <25 bronchoscopies on the extremely old (patients aged 85 years and up) every year. Overall, this study showed that, for the most part, clinicians’ real-life findings and experiences with bronchoscopy in the very elderly reflect the available literature, and that our clinician respondents generally agreed that flexible bronchoscopy is a safe and well-tolerated procedure in the very elderly and that it is a useful diagnostic tool for lung cancer, particularly in the very elderly with good functional status.