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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 11, Issue 8, Pages 587-588
Original Article

EMLA Cream is an Effective Topical Anesthetic for Bronchoscopy

Benjamin Sohmer,1 Gregory L Bryson,1 Steven Bencze,2 and Maria Mouroukas Scharf3

1Department of Anesthesiology, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
2Department of Respirology, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
3Department of Respiratory Therapy, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: EMLA cream (AstraZeneca Inc, Canada) (1:1 eutectic mixture of lidocaine 2.5% and prilocaine 2.5%) has traditionally been used for topical anesthesia of the skin. Recent reports of EMLA's use for anesthesia of the oral mucosa suggest an application in topical anesthesia for bronchoscopy.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the amount of local anesthetic administered during bronchoscopy; to assess the time required to obtain topical anesthesia; to assess the quality of the topical anesthesia as described by bronchoscopists; and to document any complications.

METHODS: Fifty-seven unpremedicated patients had 4 mL of EMLA cream applied to the posterior third of their tongues on arrival in the bronchoscopy suite. Liquid lidocaine was applied through the bronchoscope for laryngeal anesthesia.

RESULTS: The mean time from the application of EMLA cream to insertion of the bronchoscope was 5.10±0.48 min. Fifty-six patients (98.2%) required no supplemental anesthesia. Bronchoscopy conditions were described as 'excellent' in 55 cases (96.5%) and 'good' in the remaining two cases (3.5%).

CONCLUSIONS: EMLA is an effective alternative for oropharyngeal topical anesthesia that is well-tolerated by patients.