[Diagnosis of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in patients with systemic sclerosis. The significance of broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) --personal observations]

Folia Med Cracov. 1996;37(3-4):51-66.
[Article in Polish]


Review of current literature on pathogenesis and diagnostic approach to interstitial lung disease (ILD) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) was presented. The review focused in particular on the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). The experimental study was aimed to established whether early performed BAL is corresponding with clinical data, especially within a group with signs and symptoms of overt ILD. BAL was performed in 25 non-smoking subjects (22 women, 3 men) with SSc (according to ARA) with no systemic steroids. Diagnosis of lung involvement (presented in 18 patients) was based on history and physical examination, chest X-ray, lung function tests and arterial blood gas determination. BAL was routinely stained and assessed. Changes in BAL cytological examination were observed in all patients. An increased total cell number as well as increased percentage of neutrophils and eosinophils was noted. A lymphocyte number rise was not statistically significant. A lung involvement in group with ILD was more advanced than in group without ILD and controls, i.e. neutrophilic alveolitis in half cases (9/18 vs. 0/7 in group with no ILD) and oesinophilic alveolitis in 33% cases (6/18 vs. 2/7). Lymphocytic alveolitis was found in one patient with ILD and in two patients without ILD. The value of BAL in a diagnostic approach to the ILD in SSc was emphasized. Sensitivity of BAL in case of early ILD seems to be comparable with sensitivity of lung function tests (e.g. DLCO) and computerized tomography. The answer to the question which of the above mentioned methods in most appropriate to detect ILD risk in SSc remains unknown.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed