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Lung India Official publication of Indian Chest Society  
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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 116-118

Bronchoscopic lung biopsy for diagnosis of miliary tuberculosis

1 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh., India
2 Department of Histopathology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh., India

Correspondence Address:
A N Aggarwal
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Miliary tuberculosis is often treated empirically in India in the absence of a positive diagnosis based on sputum examination. We investigated the role of fiberoptic bronchoscopy for diagnosis of this disease. Methods : Records of patients undergoing fiberoptic bronchoscopy and bronchoscopic lung biopsy, and diagnosed to have miliary tuberculosis, over a four year period were evaluated. Two to four lung biopsy specimens were obtained from each patient and examined microscopically after Hematoxylin-eosin and Zeihl-Neelson staining. Results : Thirty one patients of miliary tuberculosis (19 men and 12 women) underwent fiberoptic bronchoscopy during the study period. No endobronchial abnormality was noted in any patient. Bronchoscopic lung biopsy yielded adeqaute specimen in all but one patient. Granulomatous inflammation was noted in 21 (67.7%) patients on histopathological evaluation of biopsy specimens; of them, acid-fast bacilli were demonstrated in one patient. One patient (3.2%) had normal alveolar architecture. In the other 8 patients (25.8%), nonspecific pulmonary interstitial inflammation and/or mild fibrosis were seen. Bronchial wash specimens showed acid-fast bacilli in only one patient; this patient also had granulomatous inflammation on lung biopsy. All patients tolerated bronchoscopy well and there were no procedure-related complications. Conclusion: Bronchoscopic lung biopsy is a safe procedure and an effective method of establishing diagnosis of miliary tuberculosis in a majority of patients with this disease. Bronchial washings do not provide significant additional information in this regard.

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