Anasthesiol Intensivmed Notfallmed Schmerzther 1997 Mar;32(3):169-74


Risks and side effects of diagnostic bronchoalveolar lavage in ventilated patients.


Zimmermann P, Klein U.


Klinik fur Anasthesiologie und Intensivtherapie, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena.


Bronchoalveolar lavage is used increasingly often as a diagnostic tool in

critically ill patients undergoing mechanical ventilation. Most patients, even

those with haemodynamic instability or respiratory failure, tolerate the

procedure without marked adverse effects. A relatively small proportion of

patients, however, will experience potentially deleterious side effects like

prolonged deterioration of pulmonary mechanics, oxygen desaturation or

sepsis-like symptoms. Despite all precautions, it is not possible to date to

identify increased-risk patients beforehand. The potential benefits, namely,

early diagnosis of an aetiological agent who is responsible for infection, must

therefore be carefully weighted against the risks.