Although technical refinements have improved the safety of cardiac operations, postoperative dysfunction of lung and other organs occurs frequently after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). The aim of the present study was to search the aetiopathogenesis of pulmonary complications due to CBP. Ten patients with stable coronary artery disease, undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, were included in the study. Forty bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samplings were performed in the 10 patients. Samples were obtained at the following time periods: (1) preoperatively; (2) at the end of the first hour after anaesthetic induction; (3) at the conclusion of 30 min of crossclamp on CPB; and (4) at the conclusion of 20 h after the end of CPB, postoperatively. Cell contents of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, alveolar macrophage viability, eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) levels and myeloperoxidase (MPO) concentrations were analysed in each bronchoalveolar lavage fluids.