Broncho-alveolar lavage

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Twenty years ago Myrvick et al. showed in rabbits that broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) could yield alveolar macrophages. This formed the basis for the study of pulmonary cell biology which is rapidly developing our understanding of a wide variety of pulmonary diseases. The fiberoptic bronchoscope is wedged in a subsegmental bronchus and small quantities of sterile saline are instilled and immediately aspirated into a sterile trap. The method helps to stage and monitor the progress of certain interstitial lung diseases. Untreated fibrosing alveolitis is characterized by the recovery by BAL of increased numbers of neutrophils and eosinophils, and serial BAL can be used to assess progress of the disease. BAL also appears to be helpful in assessing the activity of pulmonary sarcoidosis which is characterized by an increased proportion of lymphocytes and T-helper and T-suppressor cells. The application of BAL to pulmonary biochemistry and cell biology should provide new insights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-322+376
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes


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