Lower respiratory tract cytology specimens
Last updated: Tuesday, 23, March, 2004
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Sputum sampling: is non-invasive, cheap and easily repeated.
Bronchial washings: can be obtained by instilling normal saline into the bronchus and withdrawing the fluid by suction.
Bronchial brushings: using a flexible bronchoscope a brush sample may be obtained from the surface of the tumour under direct vision.
Transbronchial fine needle aspiration: wet fixed and air dried smears (see FNA section) and rinse needle in non-fixative solution.
Bronchoalveolar lavage: sampling of peripheral airways and alveolar spaces is accompanied by wedging the tip of a bronchoscope in a subsegmental bronchus and instilling and aspirating aliquots of normal saline into a trap.
Papanicolaou, Wrights or Romanowsky staining of submitted material after preparation.
Ancillary techniques including cell block preparations and immunohistochemistry may be performed.
Investigation of inflammatory and infective diseases of the respiratory tract, non-infective granulomatous lung disease, interstitial lung disease, investigation of bronchopulmonary and metastatic tumours.
Findings include features of malignant disease, asbestos bodies, fungal, viral and protozoal infection (eg, CMV, Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, Pneumocystis) and eosinophils (allergic bronchopulmonary disease).
Gray W. In: Gray W and McKee GT eds. Diagnostic Cytopathology. 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone 2003.
Kini SR. Colour Atlas of Pulmonary Cytopathology. Springer-Verlag 2002.