Utility of Bronchoalveolar Lavage and Transbronchial Biopsy in Patients with Interstitial Lung Disease

Traci N. Adams, Kiran Batra, Leann Silhan, Vikram Anand, Elena K. Joerns, Samantha Moore, Yasmeen M. Butt, Jose Torrealba, Chad A. Newton, Craig S. Glazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Bronchoalveolar lavage and transbronchial biopsy can be a useful tool in the evaluation of interstitial lung disease (ILD), but patient selection for this procedure remains poorly defined. Determining clinical characteristics that help with patient selection for bronchoscopy may improve confidence of ILD classification while limiting potential adverse outcomes associated with surgical lung biopsy. The purpose of this study is to identify factors that were associated with change in multidisciplinary ILD diagnosis (MDD) before and after incorporation of BAL and TBBx data. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of ILD patients at a single center who underwent bronchoscopy in the diagnostic workup of ILD. We performed sequential MDD both pre- and post-bronchoscopy to calculate the frequency of change in diagnosis after incorporating information from BAL and TBBx and identify features associated with change in diagnosis. Results: 245 patients were included in the study. Bronchoscopy led to a change in diagnosis in 58 patients (23.7%). The addition of TBBx to BAL increased diagnostic yield from 21.8 to 34.1% (p = 0.027). Identification of antigen, HRCT scan inconsistent with UIP, and absence of a pre-bronchoscopy diagnosis of CTD-ILD or IPAF were associated with a change in diagnosis after bronchoscopy. Conclusion: Our study suggests clinical features that may assist with patient selection for bronchoscopy. We suggest bronchoscopy in patients with identified antigen or an HRCT that is consistent with a non-IPF diagnosis. Appropriate patient selection for bronchoscopy may improve ILD diagnostic confidence and avoid potential complications from more invasive and higher risk procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-810
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Bronchoscopy
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Interstitial lung disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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