Retrieval of microbiological specimens through the fiberoptic bronchoscope1

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Lower respiratory tract infections in the immunocompromised host and hospitalized patient are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The methods of determining the causative agent range from sputum Gram staining to open lung biopsy. Because of the inadequacy of the former and the invasiveness of the latter, the fiberoptic bronchoscope is being used more frequently as a diagnostic tool. This paper reviews its utility in diagnosing infectious pneumonias and concentrates on the use of the microbiology specimen brush and bronchoalveolar lavage.