OBJECTIVE: To determine the pathologic outcome in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) -seropositive individuals with nonspecific bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cytology. STUDY DESIGN: The study group consisted of 126 cytologically negative or nonspecific BAL specimens from HIV-seropositive adults. Concurrent microbial cultures and transbronchial biopsies, as well as subsequent pulmonary cytology, lung biopsy or autopsy results were reviewed. Additionally, the cytologic morphology of specimens from patients found to have a potential bacterial pathogen was reviewed. RESULTS: In the 126 cases with nonspecific BAL cytology, a potential pulmonary pathogen was identified from a concurrent or subsequent pathologic specimen in 27% of cases, while no pathogen was identified in 73% of cases. Bacteria and fungi were the most common pathogens identified. Microbial cultures alone identified the pathogen in 59% of cases, while transbronchial biopsy added information in only 9%. Specimens with marked acute inflammation often yielded bacterial pathogens on microbial culture. CONCLUSION: A potential pulmonary pathogen can be identified in 27% of HIV-seropositive individuals with negative BAL cytology using other diagnostic modalities. Bacterial pathogens are most common and are usually identified by microbial culture. Marked acute inflammation in a BAL specimen is often associated with bacterial pneumonia.
- Bronchoalveolar lavage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine