Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Clinical and bronchoscopic diagnosis of suspected pneumonia related to AIDS.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 27 September 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:797
  1. A L Pozniak,
  2. K T Tung,
  3. C R Swinburn,
  4. S Tovey,
  5. S J Semple,
  6. N M Johnson


    In a series of 25 patients with suspected pneumonia related to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) the first 12 underwent routine fibreoptic bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage with or without transbronchial biopsy before treatment. Eight were found to have Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and had typical clinical presentations with a prolonged history of symptoms, including a dry cough, and bilateral diffuse alveolar or interstitial shadowing in chest radiographs. Among the subsequent 13 cases, 11 had similar clinical presentations and were treated with high doses of intravenous co-trimoxazole without bronchoscopy first. Bronchoscopy was performed in those who deteriorated at any stage or failed to improve by the fifth day of treatment. Nine patients recovered and were discharged. In two patients who died P carinii pneumonia was confirmed in one but no diagnosis was made in the other. The early and late survival in both groups of patients was similar. In patients at high risk for AIDS who have clinical features suggestive of P carinii pneumonia starting treatment with intravenous co-trimoxazole is justified. The few patients who deteriorate or fail to respond should undergo bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage and transbronchial biopsy.