My wife is having a Bronchoscopy on Wednesday. But with her cough she is worried it will make her gag. And then vomit. Can you advise please.

  • Dear PK.,

    Thanks for getting in touch with us, and welcome to the online community. My name’s Ursula  and I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the Macmillan support line.

    During a bronchoscopy, a thin tube (bronchoscope) is passed through the nose or mouth, then advanced slowly through the back of the throat and into the airways. As part of this procedure, local anaesthetic in the form of a spray will be applied to the back of the throat. This may make your wife cough a little. However, as the local anaesthetic takes effect, her throat should relax, and the coughing should ease. This spray helps to prevent coughing and gagging during the procedure.

    In some cases, sedative medications are given before the procedure to make the person feel drowsy and relaxed, these medications may also cause people to forget what happened during the procedure.

    To prevent vomiting or aspiration, your wife’s stomach should be empty prior to having the bronchoscopy. Your wife should be given instructions on how long to fast from eating and drinking prior to the procedure. When your wife arrives to the department on Wednesday, a doctor or nurse should explain the procedure to her. If she has any worries or questions at this stage, it is important she discuss these. The staff will want your wife to be as relaxed as possible for the procedure and will not mind answering her queries.

    I do hope you find this information helpful, but please do not hesitate to get back in touch with us if you need any further support.

    Best wishes,

    Ursula, Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email

    Ref: UH/LR