Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis: the diagnosis by segmental lavage

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1980 May;121(5):819-25. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1980.121.5.819.


Histologic findings from segmental lavage material via the fiberoptic bronchoscope were evaluated as a means of diagnosing pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. Active cases of alveolar proteinosis yielded grossly opaque and/or milky effluents. The unique histologic findings in alveolar proteinosis included: (1) very few alveolar macrophages (2) large acellular eosinophilic bodies in a diffuse background of eosinophilic granules, and (3) periodic acid-Schiff staining of the proteinaceous material with a lack of significant alcian blue staining. Thus, the diagnosis of pulmonary alveolar proteinosis can be made by evaluation of the clinical setting and histologic findings of the effluent material from a segmental lavage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Fiber Optic Technology
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / pathology
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Therapeutic Irrigation*