Sensitivity and specificity of oropharyngeal suction versus bronchoalveolar lavage in identifying respiratory tract pathogens in children with chronic pulmonary infection

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1995 Jul;20(1):40-3. doi: 10.1002/ppul.1950200108.


The purpose of this study was to compare the pathogens obtained by oropharyngeal suction (OPS) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) in children with chronic pulmonary infections. Forty-four children (mean age of 6.1 years; range 4 months to 15 years) were included in the study (27 children with recurrent localized lung infection, 5 with bronchiectasis, 5 with cystic fibrosis, 2 with foreign body aspiration, 2 with bronchiolitis obliterans, and 3 with recurrent episodes of cough and shortness of breath). In 27 out of 44 BAL samples (61%) bacterial cultures were positive. The sensitivity of OPS in detecting the same BAL pathogen was 89% (24/27 samples), the specificity was 94% (16/17 samples), and the predictive value was 91% (40/44 samples). Hemophilus influenzae beta-lactamase negative was the main organism recovered from BAL in non-cystic fibrosis patients with recurrent or persistent pneumonia. We conclude that OPS is a simple and efficient noninvasive procedure which may be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of recurrent or chronic pulmonary infection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Oropharynx / microbiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Suction