Acid-fast-positive Legionella pneumophila: A possible pitfall in the cytologic diagnosis of mycobacterial infection in pulmonary specimens

Joel S. Bentz, Karen Carroll, John H. Ward, Mark Elstad, C. Jay Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The acid-fast stain is commonly used in the rapid cytologic assessment of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid to detect pulmonary mycobacterial infections, particularly in immunocompromised patients. The identification of acid-fast, rod-shaped organisms may be taken as presumptive evidence of such an infection, in the appropriate clinical setting. However, this determination is made less specific by the occasional acid-fast positivity of microorganisms other than mycobacteria. We report on the occurrence of a fatal pneumonia caused by acid-fast positive Legionella pneumophila detected by BAL. This is a potential pitfall in the rapid diagnosis of pulmonary mycobacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalDiagnostic cytopathology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acid-fast stain
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Legionella
  • Mycobacteria
  • Pulmonary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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