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Volume 39, Number 4, August 2006

Opportunistic infections in adults with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: a comparison of clinical and autopsy findings

Hung-Jen Tang, Yung-Ching Liu, Muh-Young Yen, Yao-Shen Chen, Shue-Ren Wann, Hsi-Hsun Lin, Susan Shin-Jung Lee, Wei-Ru Lin, Chun-Kai Huang, Bo-An Su, Ping-Chin Chang, Chien-Ming Li, Hui-Hua Tseng
Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan; and Section of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine,Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Received: June 20, 2005    Revised: November 2, 2005    Accepted: December 5, 2005   


Corresponding author:

Dr. Yung-Ching Liu, Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, 386, Ta-Chung 1st Road, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Background and purpose: 

Many opportunistic infections causing death in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients are often not diagnosed prior to death. The objective of this study was to compare the premortem and postmortem diagnoses of opportunistic infections and tumors among 15 AIDS patients treated in a hospital in southern Taiwan.




Total autopsy (brain, chest and abdominal cavity) was performed in 2 patients, and partial autopsy in 13.




Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, candidiasis, lymphoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, toxoplasmosis and salmonellosis were more commonly diagnosed before death than at autopsy. By contrast, cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections and herpes simplex virus or varicella-zoster virus infections were more frequently diagnosed at postmortem examinations than prior to death.




In conclusion, this study found substantial discrepancies between autopsy findings and premortem clinical diagnoses in AIDS patients, especially for CMV infection.



Key words:

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, autopsy, opportunistic infections



J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2006;39:310-315.