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Keywords:

  • Cytology;
  • Endoscopy;
  • Horse;
  • Perl stain;
  • Respiration

The objective of this study was to determine if a quantitative scoring system for evaluation of hemosiderin content of alveolar macrophages obtained by bronchoalevolar lavage provides a more sensitive test for the detection of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) in horses than does endoscopy of the lower airways. A sample population composed of 74 Standardbred racehorses aged 2–5 years was used. Horses were grouped as either control (EIPH-negative) or EIPH-positive based on history and repeated postexertional endoscopic evaluation of the bronchial airways. Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed and cytocen-trifuge slides were stained with Perl's Prussian blue. Alveolar macrophages were scored for hemosiderin content by a method described by Golde and associates to obtain the total hemosiderin score (THS). Test performance criteria were determined with a contingency table. All subjects had some degree of hemosiderin in the alveolar macrophages, regardless of group. The distribution of cells among the different grades followed a significantly different pattern for the control group versus horses with EIPH (P < .05). When using a THS of 75 as a cutoff point, the THS test was found to have a sensitivity of 94% and a specificity of 88%. The level of agreement beyond chance, between the EIPH status and the THS test result was very good (Cohen's kappa = 74%). The conclusion was made that careful assessment and scoring of alveolar macrophages for hemosiderin by means of the Golde scoring system shows promise as a more sensitive approach than repeated postexertional endoscopy alone to detect EIPH.