Users Online: 8012 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  
Home | About us | Editorial board | Search | Ahead of print | Current issue | Archives | Submit article | Instructions | Subscribe | Contacts | Login 

RSACP wishes to inform that it shall be discontinuing the dispatch of print copy of JOACP to it's Life members. The print copy of JOACP will be posted only to those life members who send us a written confirmation for continuation of print copy.
Kindly email your affirmation for print copies to [email protected] preferably by 30th June 2019.


Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 128-130

Retained tracheostomy tube brush tip manifesting as recurrent respiratory tract infection

1 Department of Pulmonology and Critical Care, Military Hospital CTC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Neuroanaesthesia and Critical Care, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission26-Aug-2018
Date of Acceptance16-May-2019
Date of Web Publication18-Feb-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. (Lt Col) Shalendra Singh
Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joacp.JOACP_271_18

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Marwah V, Singh S, Sethi N, Khandelwal A. Retained tracheostomy tube brush tip manifesting as recurrent respiratory tract infection. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol 2020;36:128-30

How to cite this URL:
Marwah V, Singh S, Sethi N, Khandelwal A. Retained tracheostomy tube brush tip manifesting as recurrent respiratory tract infection. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 23];36:128-30. Available from:


Various types of bronchial brush may be used during bronchoscopy to collect samples for both microbiological diagnosis and cleaning tracheobronchial secretions.[1],[2] Inadvertent breakage of this brush during any intervention or cleaning tracheostomy tube (TT) may go unnoticed. While most cases of airway foreign body (FB) are diagnosed readily from a clinical history of acute respiratory distress, some cases remain indolent and present later. We report a case in which a patient presented with recurrent respiratory tract infections following inadvertent breakage of bronchial tube brush tip during an antecedent intervention.

A 62-year-old male (60 kg, 170 cm) presented to our hospital with a history of recurrent cough and purulent sputum not responding to conservative management. He was operated for carcinoma supraglottic region two years ago followed by elective tracheostomy. The patient was on regular follow-up for prolonged postoperative tracheostomy and radiotherapy. On examination of the respiratory system, there was decreased air entry over the middle and lower zones of the right lung along with rhonchi and fine crepitations. The patient was afebrile. His blood investigations were within normal limits except for eosinophilia with leukocytosis (total count 16500/ and absolute eosinophil count was 15500/ Chest radiograph PA and lateral view revealed a radiopaque, obliquely placed cylinder like (unknown) FB in the right lower zone [Figure 1]. The finding was later confirmed with a computerized tomography scan of thorax. Retrieval of the FB was planned under general anesthesia. In the operating room, the patient was administered with 0.2 mg glycopyrrolate (IM) 30 mins before the procedure. Standard monitoring devices were attached. Oropharynx was sprayed with 10% lignocaine spray. Patient was preoxygenated (5 mins) and induction of anesthesia was accomplished with fentanyl 75 mcg (IV) and propofol 50 mg followed by initiation of dexmedetomidine infusion at 0.5 μg/kg/hour. A 6-mm rigid bronchoscope was introduced orally by the intensivist. Ventilation was maintained with side port of the rigid bronchoscope. The FB was visualized, grasped with rigid forceps, and gradually retrieved through the rigid bronchoscope. The FB was identified to be a tracheobronchial brush tip which was used previously to clean tracheobronchial secretions through tracheostomy tube [Figure 2]. The procedure lasted around 20 minutes. Postoperative chest radiograph showed absence of the FB. The patient was discharged the next day of the procedure with the advice to continue antibiotics for 7 days.
Figure 1: Chest X-ray showing the presence of right lower zone bronchial FB

Click here to view
Figure 2: Retrieval of broken bronchial brush tip

Click here to view

Iatrogenic introduction of FB in the airway is uncommon in adults but not rare. A study by Roach et al. had reported a case of retrieval of bronchial brush tip through a flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope.[3] Suratt et al. had reported breakage of four brushes during fiberoptic bronchoscopy after reviewing a series of 48,000 procedures. One brush was left in place for 18 months without complications. Another brush was removed during an exploratory thoracotomy which was performed to further evaluate a mass lesion.[4] Thus, symptoms can range from asymptomatic phase to severe respiratory distress which may even require thoracotomy for FB retrieval. We recommend careful inspection of bronchial brush before and after every cleaning which reduces the chance of iatrogenically introducing a FB during tracheostomy tube cleaning by health care workers. An intensivist should be vigilant of this potential complication of bronchial brush in a critical care setting.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Matsuda M, Horai T, Nakamura S, Nishio H, Sakuma T, Ikegami H, et al. Bronchial brushing and bronchial biopsy: Comparison of diagnostic accuracy and cell typing reliability in lung cancer. Thorax 1986;41:475-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Choudhury M, Singh S, Agarwal S. Efficacy of bronchial brush cytology and bronchial washings in diagnosis of non- neoplastic and neoplastic bronchopulmonary lesions. Turk Patoloji Derg 2012;28:142-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Roach JM, Ripple G, Dillard TA. Inadvertent loss of bronchoscopy instruments in the tracheobronchial tree. Chest 1992;101:568-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Suratt PM, Smiddy JF, Gruber B. Deaths and complications associated with fiberoptic bronchoscopy. Chest 1976;69:747-51.  Back to cited text no. 4


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded85    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal