Safety of fiberoptic bronchoalveolar lavage in evaluation of interstitial lung disease

Chest. 1981 Sep;80(3):268-71. doi: 10.1378/chest.80.3.268.


Over a three-year period, 281 fiberoptic bronchoalveolar lavage procedures were performed on 119 individuals with interstitial lung disease and 22 normal volunteers. There were no major complications. Less than 5 percent of the procedures were associated with minor complications including (2.5 percent), pneumonitis (0.4 percent), bleeding (0.7 percent) and bronchospasm (0.7 percent); none of these complications required therapy. Those individuals developing complications had a wide range of physiologic findings; functional tests could not predict which subjects were more likely to develop minor complications associated with lavage. These findings suggest that bronchoalveolar lavage for interstitial disease is a safe procedure associated with minor risks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / cytology*
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Histiocytosis, Langerhans-Cell / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / cytology*
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / adverse effects
  • Therapeutic Irrigation / instrumentation*