How does bronchoalveolar lavage help diagnose pulmonary fibrosis?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Bronchoalveolar lavage is another way to collect lung tissue samples so that doctors can examine them for pulmonary fibrosis. During a bronchoscopy, after the tube has been passed down your throat and into your lungs, your doctor shoots salt water down the bronchoscope into your lungs. Then, the salt water is sucked back up right away with cells from your lungs mixed in. The samples are sent to a lab to be analyzed for evidence of pulmonary fibrosis damage. Like a regular bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage carries a risk of not drawing samples that can conclusively diagnose pulmonary fibrosis.

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