The advent of flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB) has had a dramatic impact on the practice of pulmonary medicine. This procedure is easily performed in widely varied clinical settings,1 provides maximal visualization of the tracheobronchial tree,2 results in an exceedingly low complication rate,3,4 and does not require general anesthesia. Consequently, flexible FOB has emerged as the procedure of choice for the diagnosis and management of most bronchopulmonary disorders requiring bronchoscopic examination and has completely replaced bronchoscopy using the rigid tube, except perhaps in some cases of exceedingly brisk hemoptysis or the aspiration of a large foreign body.
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Practically all studies of the flexible FOB have thus far been performed in hospitalized patients. Donlan et al, in a preliminary report on 318 flexible FOB procedures in the Archives (138:698-699), first documented the safety and effectiveness of the procedure performed on an outpatient basis. In this