Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)

  • Microbiology



Sample requirements


Collect as large a volume as possible into

30 mL sterile Universal






60 mL wide-mouthed container


30 mL sterile Universal container

60 mL wide-mouthed container

Required information

  • Current or recent antibiotic therapy
  • Immunocompromise
  • Travel history
  • Occupational risks
  • Bronchiectasis
  • If ventilated


Transport withour delay to ensure survival of fastidious organisms. Where transport is difficult, specimens may be cultured up to 48hr after collection.

If specimens are not processed on the same day as they are collected, interpretation of results should be made with care.

If transport is delayed, refrigeration is preferable to storage at ambient temperature.

Turnaround time

2 - 5 days

Page last reviewed: 15/04/2015