PMID: 11391819Jun 8, 2001

Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis: a spectrum of cytologic, histochemical, and ultrastructural findings in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid

Diagnostic Cytopathology
S J MaygardenD B Novotny


Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) is defined as abundant extracellular proteinaceous periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive material which represents surfactant distending alveolar spaces. While this lesion is defined by histologic findings, there are characteristic radiologic features and cytologic findings in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens that together may provide a confident diagnosis. The BAL specimens from all patients for which a diagnosis of PAP was made or suggested on either cytologic or biopsy specimens at University of North Carolina Hospitals from 1990-1999 were reviewed. There were 23 cytologic specimens from 11 patients. Patient ages ranged from 6 wk to 76 yr. All 23 specimens had slides prepared for Papanicolaou stain, 22 specimens (all patients) had Diff-Quik stains, 10 specimens (6 patients) had PAS stains, and 8 specimens (5 patients) had lipid stains. Nine patients had lung biopsies in addition to cytologic specimens. The clinical charts of all patients were reviewed. Twenty-one cytologic specimens were described as cloudy or milky, and 2 were bloody. By chart review and/or biopsy results, 8 patients were felt to have definite PAP. The initial lavage specimens from 6 of these patients showed classic ...Continue Reading


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