American Review of Respiratory Disease

To assess determinants of prognosis for 43 patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, objective clinical and histopathologic characteristics were analyzed for acute and long-term prognostic significance. Severe abnormalities on initial chest radiographs and alveolar-arterial oxygen differences (AaPo2) greater than 30 mm Hg were associated with higher mortality during the period of treatment for the acute episode (p < 0.05). Decreased long-term survival after the diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia correlated with the severity of interstitial edema (a component of diffuse alveolar damage) on initial transbronchial biopsy and elevation of AaPO2 at the time of diagnosis (Cox proportional hazards analysis, p < 0.05). The persistence of Pneumocystis cysts after 3 wk of therapy was associated with significantly decreased long-term survival (p < 0.05) when follow-up biopsy was performed in 27 of the patients. Patients with a diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia before July 1985 had more advanced disease at the time of diagnosis and a worse prognosis than did those in whom the diagnosis was made after July 1985 (p < 0.05). This study demonstrates that important prognostic information can be derived from information obtained at initial presentation and follow-up bronchoscopic evaluation in patients with AIDS and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and suggests that early detection and initiation of therapy may improve chances for survival.

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