BACKGROUND--The relationship between cell types in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and the clinical course of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has been the subject of several studies. However, the results of these studies are not conclusive. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the absolute and relative cell numbers in BAL fluid from patients with IPF and their survival. METHODS--Results obtained from the initial BAL fluid analyses of all histologically proven cases of IPF (n = 49) were selected retrospectively. Cox's proportional hazards survival analysis was used for estimating the relationship between absolute and relative cell numbers and survival. RESULTS--A negative relationship was found between both the absolute numbers and percentages of eosinophils in BAL fluid samples and survival. No such relationship was demonstrated for the absolute numbers or the percentages of any other cell type. CONCLUSIONS--Although this study has restrictions, these findings suggest a negative relationship between the absolute numbers and percentages of eosinophils in BAL fluid samples and survival in patients with IPF.
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