Pathology Handbook

Bronchial Washing


Brochioalveola lavage (BAL), Bronchial washing, BW

Test Includes

Processing saline introduced into the lung at bronchoscopy in order to investigate for deep seated pathogens, viruses and fungi.

Clinical Indications

Abnormal chest X-Ray, suspected TB, viral, fungal or PCP infection in immunocompromised patients.

Request Form

Available via ICE.


Performed by the endoscopy unit, heart and chest clinic ot ITU patients.

Turnaround Time

Routine culture - 5 days.

TB culture - microscopy 24hr. culture 42 days.

PCP/viral investigation (reference test by Great Ormond Street Hospital) - 7 to 10 days.

Fungal culture - 48hr - 5 days.


Saline washing




White top universal.

Large white top universal

Causes For Rejection

As an unrepeatable sample these are usually not rejected but in the case of inadequate sample identification the requester may be required to complete and sign a disclaimer before the sample is processed.

Lab Handling

Handle as a high risk sample (category 3), process as soon as possible.