Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Pneumocystis carinii is usually considered a respiratory tract pathogen; however, there are reported cases of limited and generalized dissemination of the organism from the lungs of immunocompromised patients. We present the autopsy findings of a 29-year-old male with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and recurrent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia who developed abnormal liver function tests. The patient had received aerosolized pentamidine because of toxic reactions to other modes of therapy. The postmortem examination revealed Pneumocystis in the lungs, liver, spleen, kidney, myocardium, thymus, pancreas, thyroid gland, bilateral parathyroid and adrenal glands, gastrointestinal mucosa, perihilar and mesenteric lymph nodes, and bone marrow. A high index of suspicion, especially in patients treated with aerosolized pentamidine, may lead to an increased recognition of disseminated pneumocystosis. Dissemination of the infection may be due to failure of the aerosolized drug to achieve adequate blood levels. As AIDS patients survive longer because of the developing therapeutic arsenal, disseminated pneumocystosis may be encountered with increasing frequency in these immunocompromised patients.