To our knowledge, there are no studies that compare the effectiveness of manual chest percussion (MN), mechanical chest percussion (MC), and no percussion (NP) for removing the proteinaceous material found in the alveoli of patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) while undergoing whole-lung bronchopulmonary lavage (BPL). We analyzed the optical densities (OD) of 27 bottles of effluent from three BPLs of a patient with PAP. One technique was used per bottle. The order of techniques was balanced within each nine-bottle series and among the three BPLs. The mean OD for MN (0.933 +/- 0.494) was significantly superior to MC (0.477 +/- 0.265) (p < 0.0005) and NP (0.318 +/- 0.242) (p < 0.0001). We conclude that MN is superior to MC and NP and increases the therapeutic results of BPL for PAP.