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J Pediatr. 1998 Feb;132(2):312-8.

Clinical utility of flexible bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage in young children with recurrent wheezing.

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1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to determine in young children with recurrent wheezing poorly responsive to bronchodilator therapy whether flexible bronchoscopy (FB) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) provide clinically useful information, whether age-specific differences are present in bronchoscopic and BAL fluid (BALF) findings, and whether differential cellular analysis of BALF is useful in suggesting an infectious or inflammatory process.

DESIGN:

This was a retrospective case series with descriptive and analytical components. The study population included children referred to a large tertiary care children's hospital subspecialty service for further evaluation of recurrent wheezing. Clinical and demographic data and findings of FB and BALF studies were collected from chart review. For purposes of data analysis patients were divided into 0- to 6-, 7- to 12-, and 13- to 18-month age groups.

RESULTS:

Thirty otherwise healthy children, 0 to 18 months of age with recurrent wheezing, who had undergone FB were identified; and 28 were found to have positive diagnostic findings. Airway abnormalities were found in 17 (57%) and tended to be more common in the 0- to 6-month age group. In the 27 who also had BAL performed, 3 (11%) had a positive bacterial culture, 9 (33%) a positive viral culture, and 5 (19%) an elevated lipid-laden macrophage index suggesting aspiration. Differential cellular analysis was abnormal in 11 (41%), a finding that was significantly associated with a positive bacterial culture, a positive viral culture, or an elevated lipid-laden macrophage index.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this population of young children with recurrent wheezing poorly responsive to bronchodilator therapy, FB and BAL yielded useful diagnostic findings in most children studied. In addition, in the presence of an infectious or inflammatory process, differential cellular analysis of BALF revealed an increased percentage of neutrophils.

PMID:
9506647
DOI:
10.1016/s0022-3476(98)70451-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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