Asbestos bodies in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. A study of 20 asbestos-exposed individuals and comparison to patients with other chronic interstitial lung diseases.
We studied the asbestos body (AB) content of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from 20 patients with a history of occupational asbestos exposure, 31 patients with sarcoidosis and 5 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The cellular lavage pellet was digested in sodium hypochlorite and filtered onto Nuclepore filters for AB quantification by light microscopy. ABs were found in 15 of 20 asbestos-exposed individuals, 9 of 31 sarcoidosis cases and 2 of 5 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. There was a statistically significant difference in the number of ABs per million cells recovered or per milliliter of recovered lavage fluid in the asbestos-exposed group as compared to the other categories of chronic interstitial lung disease. The highest levels occurred in patients with asbestosis. Large numbers of asbestos bodies in the lavage fluid (greater than 1 AB/10(6) cells) were indicative of considerable occupational asbestos exposure, whereas occasional bodies were a nonspecific finding.
Roggli, VL; Piantadosi, CA; Bell, DY
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