Fibreoptic bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage in the investigation of the immunocompromised lung.N Z Med J. 1992 Jun 10; 105(935):215-7.NZ
The records of 18 immunocompromised patients with recent onset of pulmonary disease who had fibreoptic bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage over a two year period (1989-90) were reviewed. The underlying diseases were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (n = 7), organ transplantation (n = 9), and chemotherapy for malignancy (n = 2). Four patients were receiving prophylactic therapy and 12 had been started on empirical therapy for infection. Patients proceeded to bronchoscopy either because of atypical disease presentation or failure to respond to empirical therapy. Bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage was diagnostic in 13/18 (72%) patients and provided clinically useful information in 16/18 (89%). There was one diagnostic failure (6%); Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in an HIV positive patient receiving nebulised pentamidine prophylaxis was missed. Transbronchial biopsies were not routinely performed and provided additional diagnostic information in only 1/6 (17%) patients. Overall, the commonest diagnoses were Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (61%) and cytomegalovirus pneumonitis (28%). There were no complications of the procedures. In this highly selected setting of diagnostic or therapeutic uncertainty, fibreoptic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage remains an effective and safe technique for evaluating pulmonary disease in immunocompromised patients.