Inflammation on bronchoalveolar lavage cytology is associated with decreased chronic lung allograft dysfunction-free survival

Clin Transplant. 2022 Mar 5:e14639. doi: 10.1111/ctr.14639. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Lung transplant recipients undergo bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) to detect antecedents of chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD), but routine assessment of BAL cytology is controversial. We hypothesized that inflammation on BAL cytology would predict CLAD-free survival.

METHODS: In a single-center retrospective cohort, associations between cytology results and clinical characteristics were compared using generalized-estimating equation-adjusted regression. The association between BAL inflammation and CLAD or death risk was assessed using time-dependent Cox models.

RESULTS: In 3,365 cytology reports from 451 subjects, inflammation was the most common finding (6.2%, 210 cases), followed by fungal forms (5.3%, 178 cases, including 24 cases of suspected Aspergillus). Inflammation on BAL cytology was more common in procedures for symptoms (8.5%) versus surveillance (3.2%, P<0.001). Inflammation on cytology was associated with automated neutrophil and lymphocyte counts, acute cellular rejection, infection, and portended a 2.2-fold hazard ratio (CI 1.2-4.0, P = 0.007) for CLAD or death. However, inflammation by cytology did not inform CLAD-free survival risk beyond automated BAL cell counts (P = 0.57).

CONCLUSIONS: Inflammation on BAL cytology is clinically significant, suggesting acute rejection or infection and increased risk of CLAD or death. However, other indicators of allograft inflammation can substitute for much of the information provided by BAL cytology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:35246990 | DOI:10.1111/ctr.14639

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