Introduction: Although there is a remarkable increase in diagnostic flexible bronchoscopy (FB) in old patients, safety and efficacy of FB in very old patients remain to be elucidated. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the complications and diagnostic yield of FB in patients aged ≥ 80 years with lung cancer compared with those aged < 80 years. Materials and methods: We retrospectively analysed the medical records of 668 consecutive patients, which included 89 patients aged ≥ 80 years (older group) and 579 patients aged < 80 years (younger group) who underwent bronchoscopy for the diagnosis or staging of lung cancer between April 2011 and March 2016. Results: The median age of the patients was 82 and 69 years in the older and younger groups, respectively. Performance status and Charlson comorbidity index were comparable between the study groups. Diagnostic yield in the older and younger groups was equivalent, and stage distribution in both the groups was similar. Sixty-one patients (68.5%) received anticancer treatment including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with cytotoxic or molecular-targeted agents in the older group. There were no statistical differences in the occurrence of overall complications between the two groups. Conclusions: Safety and efficacy of FB in the diagnosis of lung cancer in very old patients are comparable with those of younger patients. Accurate diagnosis established by bronchoscopy leads to appropriate treatment decision in very old patients.
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