Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL) Fluid Cellularity and Ventilatory Functions in Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Patients
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has recently been incriminated as an aetiological agent in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). This study was performed to study the cellularity of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)fluid and ventilatory function tests in patients with chronic HCV infection. BAL fluid and lavage from ten patients with chronic active hepatitis C. diagnosed by elevated serum transaminases and typical histological findings in the liver, were analysed (group I). Lavage findings I and ventilatory functions in these patients were compared with those from ten healthy volunteers as controls (group II). There was no difference in total cell counts in the lavage fluid between the two groups, but lavage lymphocyte and eosinophil numbers were increased in chronic HCV patients. The ventilatory functions FVC% and FEVI% predicted and FEV I lFVC% were significantly lower in the HCV patients (group F). The FVC%, EFS/ 1%, FEF25.75% predicted and FEV ?PVC% were lower in the HCV patients with alveolitis. Thus, the numbers of lymphocytes and eosinophils in BAL fluid are increased in patients with chronic HCV. These findings suggest that chronic HCV infection may trigger alveolitis. This alveolitis may decrease the ventilator), functions.