Strictly speaking, bronchoscopy is limited to the visual examination of the bronchi and originally was used to remove foreign bodies from the air passages. In its broader connotation it has even greater usefulness in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the entire tracheobronchial tree.
Jackson has been largely responsible for developing the technic of bronchoscopy to its present high efficiency. Because bronchoscopy seemed a formidable procedure, the general practitioner was slow to realize that the bronchoscope provided a means for diagnosing obscure pulmonary disease. Recent advances in thoracic surgery have emphasized the importance of bronchoscopy in early diagnosis, and consequently greater responsibility has been placed upon the endoscopist. This paper urges wider application of bronchoscopy to diseases of the tracheobronchial tree, not only obscure ones, but also many of the more common conditions which may be secondary to undiagnosed and more important pathologic conditions.
Bronchoscopy is closely related to the development of direct laryngoscopy and esophagoscopy. In 1897 Killian removed a foreign body from the bronchus through an esophagoscope and demonstrated the feasibility of lower bronchoscopy. The first authentic use of the bronchoscope in the United States was in 1897 by Coolidge, who removed a fragment of tracheal cannula from the right bronchus. In 1905 Chevalier Jackson perfected a distally lighted tube that eliminated blind bronchoscopy and made possible the use of narrower and safer tubes.
Bronchoscopy is indicated when signs and symptoms related to the trachea, bronchi, and lungs cannot be explained by the physical findings, x-ray examination. . .