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Rev Mal Respir. 1998 Feb;15(1):61-7.

[Patent and occult intra-alveolar hemorrhage in leptospirosis].

[Article in French]

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Service de Pneumologie, CH Saint-Denis, CHD Félix-Guyon, Nord-Réunion.



Pulmonary involvement (PI) is common in leptospiral infection, usually characterized by hemoptysis and diffuse bilateral infiltrates on chest radiographs. Alveolar haemorrhage (AH) has already been proved by autopsy and some case-reports with fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FB) and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). The purpose of this study was 1/to evaluate the incidence of AH in leptospirosis 2/to define the impact of BAL on the early diagnosis of the infection.


FB with BAL were performed in 23 consecutive patients with leptospirosis (13 patients with patent signs of PI: group 1, 10 patients without: group 2). AH was defined by a percentage of siderophages > or = 20% and/or a Golde score > 100 and/or an haemorrhagic aspect of BAL fluid. Culture tests were performed on specific medium.


We diagnosed AH in all patients of group 1 and in 7 patients of group 2. Filaments were seen in 6 specimens of BAL fluid, initially thought to be leptospires, but culture tests were negative.


AH is identified in all cases of leptospirosis with PI. Occult AH often occurs to patients without any respiratory symptom. Physicians should consider leptospiral infection in the differential diagnosis of AH. Culture-tests for leptospirosis in BAL do no help in diagnosing leptospirosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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