Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: A comparison between patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and patients with other immunodeficiencies
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes
Clinical features of 49 episodes of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome were compared with those of 39 episodes in patients with other immunosuppressive diseases. At presentation patients with the syndrome were found to have a longer median duration of symptoms (28 days versus 5 days, p = 0.0001), lower mean respiratory rate (23.4 versus 30, p = 0.005), and higher median room air arterial oxygen tension (69 mm Hg versus 52 mm Hg, p = 0.0002). The survival rate from 1979 to 1983 was similar for the two groups (57% and 50% respectively). Patients with the syndrome had a higher incidence of adverse reactions to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (22 of 34 versus 2 of 17, p = 0.0007). Survivors with the syndrome at initial presentation had a significantly lower respiratory rate, and higher room air arterial oxygen tension, lymphocyte count, and serum albumin level compared to nonsurvivors. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia presents as a more insidious disease process in patients with the syndrome, and drug therapy in these patients is complicated by frequent adverse reactions.