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Judy, Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 914
Experience:  RN in ICU for 35 years
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My Brother his having his lungs flushed by the doctor, what

Customer Question

My Brother his having his lungs flushed by the doctor, what is this and how is it done.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Judy replied 10 years ago.
Is your brother in the hospital? Does he have pneumonia? When people have thick secretions and are unable to cough them up, or if the doc needs a sample for diagnosis, he will do a "bronchoscopy" (insertion of a tube with a light and camera) to obtain specimens for testing or to clear the lungs. We call these specimens "bronchial washings." The tube has a channel that is hollow through which the doc will instill normal saline (sterile salt water), and possibly "mucomyst" (a mucus thinning agent). Then it is suctioned out pulling up the mucus with it. It's relatively safe and the patient's throat and trachea are numbed during the procedure.

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