Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation is an alternative to intubation in critically ill patients with respiratory insufficiency or poor gas exchange who may require flexible bronchoscopy for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. This ventilatory technique might help decrease the risk of bronchoscopy-related complications in patients with refractory hypoxemia, postoperative respiratory distress, severe emphysema, obstructive sleep apnea, and obesity hypoventilation syndrome and allows bronchoscopic assessment of patients with severe dyspnea from expiratory central airway collapse. In this review, the physiological rationale, indications, contraindications, techniques, and monitoring requirements for flexible bronchoscopy assisted by noninvasive positive pressure ventilation are described, with an emphasis on the role of critical care nurses in this procedure.

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