Significance of Oil-Red-O positive macrophages in bronchoalveolar lavage in diagnosing E-cigarettes or vaping product use-associated lung injury: A case series

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Abstract

Background: Lipid-laden macrophages detected by Oil-Red-O (ORO) stain in fresh bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens have been proposed as a potential diagnostic marker for E-cigarettes or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). However, studies are few, and the sensitivity and specificity of the test have not been thoroughly investigated. Methods: We performed ORO stain on fresh BAL specimens from six confirmed EVALI and 36 non-EVALI patients. After semi-quantitative analysis, the sensitivity and specificity of ORO-positive macrophages (OPM) for detection of EVALI were calculated. Results: No significant difference in cytomorphology or raw macrophage count was observed between EVALI and non-EVALI groups (49% vs 55% of all nucleated cells). However, with ORO stain, all EVALI specimens (6/6) showed a high percentage (≥50% of all macrophages) of OPM (mean 87%), and large (≥25% of host macrophage nuclear size) lipid droplets (mean 42%), while the majority of non-EVALI specimens showed a low percentage of OPM (32/36, mean 10%), and small lipid droplets (34/36, mean 6%). The differences between the two groups in both high OPM and large lipid droplet rates are statistically significant (P <.0001 for both comparisons). The combined sensitivity and specificity of high OPM and large lipid droplets for diagnosing EVALI were 100% and 94%, respectively. Conclusion: In BAL specimens obtained from patients with clinically suspected EVALI, a high percentage of OPM with large lipid droplets showed high sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of EVALI and may serve as a potentially useful tool in the evaluation of vaping-related lung injury, improving diagnostic accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDiagnostic cytopathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • E-cigarette
  • Oil-Red-O
  • bronchoalveolar lavage
  • lipid-laden macrophage
  • lung injury
  • vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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