Management of broncholithiasis

Sheila Krishnan, Christopher M. Kniese, Mark Mankins, Darel E. Heitkamp, Francis D. Sheski, Kenneth A. Kesler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Broncholithiasis is a condition in which calcified material has entered the tracheobronchial tree, at times causing airway obstruction and inflammation. Broncholiths generally originate as calcified material in mediastinal lymph nodes that subsequently Erode into adjacent airways, often as a result of prior granulomatous infection. Disease manifestations range from asymptomatic stones in the airway to life-threatening complications, including massive hemoptysis and post-obstructive pneumonia. Radiographic imaging, particularly computed tomography scanning of the chest, is integral in the evaluation of suspected broncholithiasis and can be helpful to assess involvement of adjacent structures, including vasculature, prior to any planned intervention. Management strategies largely depend on the severity of disease. Observation is warranted in asymptomatic cases, while therapeutic bronchoscopy and surgical interventions may be necessary for cases involving complications. Bronchoscopic extraction is often feasible in cases in which the broncholith is freely mobile within the airway, whereas partially-embedded broncholiths represent additional challenges. Surgical intervention is indicated for advanced cases deemed not amenable to endoscopic management. Complex cases involving complications such as massive hemoptysis and/or bronchomediastinal fistula formation are best managed with a multidisciplinary approach, utilizing expertise from fields such as pulmonology, radiology, and thoracic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S3419-S3427
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Broncholithiasis
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Surgical management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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