Large volume pulmonary lavage is a procedure needed for patients having pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP). This disease — whether it's primary or acquired — causes the lungs to fill with lipoproteinaceous fluid that cannot be cleared. A large amount of fluid is needed to flush the lungs (lavage) and clear the secretions.
- When PAP is severe enough, lung secretions increase and cannot be cleared.
- Large volume pulmonary lavage is performed while the patient is intubated and sedated.
- Several liters of saline solution are placed into the lungs through the breathing tube.
- This fluid is then suctioned and removed, which washes the secretions away.
- In order to deliver several liters of fluid into the lungs to wash the secretions, this procedure requires a breathing tube and general anesthesia.
- Large volume pulmonary lavage is rare procedure. However, patients with severe PAP rapidly improve after this procedure is completed.