Recurrent aspiration in children: Lipid‐laden alveolar macrophage quantitation

John L. Colombo, Timothy K. Hallberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


We prospectively evaluated bronchial washings from 45 patients aged 1 month to 25 years (mean 3.3 years) for the presence of lipid‐laden macrophages. By grading the amount of intracellular oil‐red‐O‐positive material, we determined a semiquantitative lipid‐laden macrophage index for each patient. All patients observed to be definite aspirators (n = 22) had indexes ≥86 (mean ± SD, 139 ± 46). All patients with no clinical suspicion of aspiration (n = 23) had indexes ⩽72 (mean ± SD, 21 ± 20). Our results suggest that simply sighting lipid‐laden macrophages is a nonspecific finding, but quantitation of these cells may be a very good test for recurrent aspiration of food substances in children. This test appears to be more sensitive than radiographic studies. Pediatr Pulmonol 1987; 3:89–89.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987


  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • bronchial washings
  • bronchoscopy
  • intracellular oil‐red‐O‐positive grading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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