Which BAL fluid finding is characteristic of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: Eloise M Harman, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Ten thousand organisms per milliliter is generally considered significant in a patient not previously treated with antibiotics. As noted (see above), early ARDS is characterized by the presence of neutrophils in the BAL fluid, so the presence of intracellular organisms and the use of quantitative culture are important in establishing infection.

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