One hundred years ago Gustan Killian, a German physician, successfully used a primitive bronchoscope to remove a small piece of bone from the right main-stem bronchus of a 63-year-old timber sawyer with dyspnea and hemoptysis.1,2 An electric headlight provided illumination for the rigid scope.2 Earlier, in an 1870 address to the Royal Society, an Englishman named John Tyndall had described the optical properties of glass fibers: light travels through thin glass filaments even when they are twisted or bent.2 This remarkable physical property was appreciated and eventually exploited by those interested in refining the mechanics of visualizing the airways. Thus, in 1964, the first flexible fiberoptic bronchoscope was introduced by Shigeto Ikeda of Japan, who had incorporated glass fibers to transmit light in a curved path.3 Ikeda's landmark demonstration marked a major technical advance in the diagnosis and management of many pulmonary disorders.
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Wenzel RP, Edmond MB. Tuberculosis Infection After Bronchoscopy. JAMA. 1997;278(13):1111. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550130085043