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Lung India Official publication of Indian Chest Society  
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Year : 1997  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65-71

Clinical Utility Of Bronchoalveolar Lavage In The Diagnosis Of Lung Diseases

Correspondence Address:
G. S Gaude

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) is a useful and safe method for the sampling of cellular and bio-chemical components from the bronchoalveolar lung units. We have evaluated its diagnostic utility in 175 patients, who were subjected to BAL for various types of lung lesions. BAL was done in a standard technique using Olympus fibreoptic bronchoscope by instilling 200 ml of sterile 0.9% saline solution at room temperature. The recovery of the fluid varied from 45% to 67%. The total cell count varied from 4 to 25 X 106/dl with varying amounts of macrophages (77 to 93%), lymphocytes (3-18%) and neutrophils (0.8-13%). The most common condition diagnosed was lung cancer, in whom BAL provided the diagnosis in 78.6% of cases. Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) was diagnosed in 32% of smear negative suspected cases of PTB. BAL findings were suggestive of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 11 cases (68.%). Lower respiratory tract infection was diagnosed in 31 cases by BAL, while four cases of fungal infections were also diagnosed. Thus, the overall diagnostic yield for BAL was 81.8% and it was inconclusive in 18.2% of cases. There were minor side effects. Thus BAL is a safe technique and can be utilized for the routine workup of different lung diseases.

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