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Volume 47, Number 1, February 2014

Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia in immunocompromised patients: Delayed diagnosis and poor outcomes in non-HIV-infected individuals 

Ming-Chi Li, Nan-Yao Lee, Ching-Chi Lee, Hsin-Chun Lee, Chia-Ming Chang, Wen-Chien Ko

Received: April 30, 2012    Revised: July 17, 2012    Accepted: August 24, 2012   


Background and purpose: 

Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP) is a life-threatening disease in immunocompromised patients. Improved knowledge about the varied characteristics and management in different populations may guide treatment. 



We evaluated the clinical characteristics, management, and outcomes of patients with PJP diagnosed by nested polymerase chain reaction at a medical center in southern Taiwan from 2008 to 2011. The risk factors of mortality among non-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients were analyzed. 



During the study period, there were 43 cases of PJP, and the common underlying diseases were HIV infection (23 patients, median CD4 count: 19/μl) and malignancy. The HIV-infected patients had a younger age (36.9 ± 13.7 vs. 50.2 ± 16.2 years, p = 0.006), a lower body mass index (19.9 ± 2.3 vs. 22.0 ± 3.7 kg/m2, p = 0.035), a longer duration of symptoms before admission (24 ± 29 vs. 7 ± 15 days, p = 0.035), and a lower pneumonia severity index (56 ± 25 vs. 99 ± 35, p < 0.001) than non-HIV-infected patients. A delay between admission and starting antimicrobial therapy for PJP (10 ± 10 days vs. 1 ± 3 days, p = 0.004) and a high crude mortality (12/20, 60% vs. 2/23, 9%, p = 0.001) were noted in non-HIV-infected patients. In the univariate analysis, the risk factors for mortality were a low lymphocyte count (p < 0.05) and shock during hospitalization (p = 0.004). 



A delay in the initiation of antimicrobial therapy for PJP and severe pneumonia were more common in the non-HIV-infected patients and were most likely related to the poor prognosis. The utilization of sensitive diagnostic tools to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment may improve the clinical outcomes of non-HIV-infected patients with PJP. 


Key words:

Human immunodeficiency virus, Immunocompromised, Pneumocystis jiroveci, Treatment