Bronchoalveolar lavage studies in children without parenchymal lung disease: cellular constituents and protein levels

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We evaluated bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BAL) for cellular constituents, concentration of total protein (TP), albumin (AL), fibronectin (FN), and hyaluronic acid (HA) in 16 children aged 2-32 months without pulmonary inflammatory or parenchymal disease to establish reference values. We compared our data to those reported in older children and in normal adult volunteers. BAL results were obtained simultaneously from the right middle lobe and the lingula. Results indicated that children younger than 3 years of age had a higher number of cells/mL than older children and adults (59.9 x 10(4) vs. 17.6 x 10(4) and 12 x 10(4)). Differential cell count revealed that the percentages of alveolar macrophages (AM), lymphocytes (LYM), and eosinophils (EOS) were similar to those obtained in older children and in adults, whereas the percentage of neutrophils (NEU) was higher in younger children (NEU 5.5 vs 1.6 and 1.2%, respectively) than in older children and adults. The latter difference was even greater in infants under 12 months of age (NEU 7.6%). The concentrations of TP, AL, FN, and HA in children's BAL samples were compared to values reported for adults. There were no differences between infants and children 13-32 months of age or normal adults. BAL fluid obtained simultaneously from the middle lobe and lingula were not significantly different. In conclusion, this is the first report on BAL values (cellular and noncellular constituents) in children younger than 3 years. The results may be used as reference values for further studies in children with parenchymal lung disease in this age group.


  • F Midulla
  • A Villani
  • R Merolla
  • Leif Bjermer
  • T Sandstrom
  • R Ronchetti
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage, fiberoptic bronchoscopy, children, reference values
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes