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Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2004 Jan-Mar;61(1):39-43.

Bronchoalveolar lavage in intensive care units.

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Dipartimento di Clinica Medica, Nefrologia e Scienze della Prevenzione dell'Università degli Studi di Parma, Italia.


Pneumonia is common in those patients placed in intensive care units, especially in mechanically ventilated patients. The high mortality rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia requires a rapid initiation of the appropriate antibiotic treatment. Patients who do not respond to initial antibiotic regimens could have the additional benefit of the use of invasive techniques such as bronchoalveolar lavage. Moreover, BAL is of clinical use to identify several non-infectious pulmonary conditions that may mimic pneumonia in these patients. Such conditions include pulmonary haemorrhages, acute eosinophilic pneumonia, malignancy, drug-induced toxicity, adult respiratory distress syndrome and cardiogenic pulmonary oedema. It is important to distinguish these conditions from pneumonia because the management and prognosis of these entities is quite different.

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