Local anaesthesia for fibreoptic bronchoscopy should be given by a safe technique that is not unpleasant to the patient and should provide acceptable conditions for the bronchoscopist. Single injection transcricoid local anaesthesia was compared with the "spray as you go" technique in patients having day case fibreoptic bronchoscopy. Patients were randomised to receive either 100 mg lignocaine by a single cricothyroid puncture or 240 mg lignocaine instilled through the bronchoscope under direct vision. Further doses were given by the operator to both groups as required. The 30 patients receiving transcricoid lignocaine coughed less (3.56 (SD 3.1) coughs/min) than the 32 patients receiving lignocaine through the bronchoscope (5.89 (4.8)/min) despite receiving a lower total dose of lignocaine (322 (25.9) v 451 (20.9) mg). Cricothyroid puncture was not associated with any complications and was not unpleasant for the patients.
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