Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL; informally, "bronchoalveolar washing") is a medical procedure in which a bronchoscope is passed through the mouth or nose into the lungs and fluid is squirted into a small part of the lung and then collected for examination. It is typically performed to diagnose lung disease.
In particular, bronchoalveolar lavage is commonly used to diagnose infections in people with immune system problems, pneumonia in people on ventilators, some types of lung cancer, and scarring of the lung (interstitial lung disease). It is the most common manner to sample the components of the epithelial lining fluid (ELF) and to determine the protein composition of the pulmonary airways, and it is often used in immunological research as a means of sampling cells or pathogen levels in the lung. Examples of these include T-cell populations and influenza viral levels.
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- "How 'Lung Washing' Helps Patients Breathe Again". healthessentials. Cleveland Clinic. August 6, 2014.
- Michaud, Gaëtane; Reddy, Chakravarthy; Ernst, Armin (2009). "Whole-lung lavage for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis". Chest 136 (6): 1678–1681. doi:10.1378/chest.09-2295.
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