BAL Laboratory

The Bronchoscopy Research Procedure Unit & Lung Cell Biology Laboratory (BAL Laboratory) enables clinical studies for AAT Deficiency through specialized analysis of bronchoalveolar (BAL) fluid. Because of these specialized tests, researchers can focus on the fundamental processes associated with lung injury in individuals with AAT Deficiency and determine the “efficacy” of new therapies.

What is a bronchoscopy?
A bronchoscopy is a diagnostic procedure in which a tube with a tiny camera on the end is inserted through the nose or mouth into the lungs. The procedure provides a view of the airways of the lung and allows doctors to collect lung fluids, or air tube samples by biopsy (a small pinch of tissue about the size of the head of a pin), or airway cells recovered by brushing the air tube.

Topical or local anesthetic is sprayed in the mouth and throat. If the bronchoscopy is performed via the nose, an anesthetic jelly will be inserted into one nostril. Sedative medications are given to make the patient very sleepy throughout the procedure or put them to sleep. The scope is inserted through the numbed nostril until it passes through the throat into the trachea and bronchi. The bronchoscope is used to examine the airways of the lungs, samples of lung secretions are sent for laboratory analysis.

In certain circumstances, a salt water saline may be used to flush the area and collect cells to be analyzed. In this procedure, called bronchoalveolar lavage, up to 300 cc of saline (20 tablespoons) are instilled into the airway after the bronchoscope has been advanced as far as possible and a small airway is temporarily blocked by the scope. Bronchoalveolar lavage is performed to obtain a sample of the cells, fluids, and other materials present in the very small alveoli (air sacs).

Click below to view a video of a Bronchoscopy.