Determinants of Short- and Long-term Outcome in Patients With Respiratory Failure Caused by AIDS-Related Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia

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To determine (1) predictors of in-hospital mortality and long-term survival in patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) caused by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and (2) long-term survival for patients with ARF relative to those without ARF.


A retrospective medical chart review was conducted of all cases of PCP-related ARF for which the patient was admitted to the intensive care unit of a single tertiary care institution between 1991 and 1996. Data were extracted regarding physiologic scores, relevant laboratory values, and duration of previous maximal therapy with combined anti-PCP agents and corticosteroids at entry to the intensive care unit. Duration of survival was determined by Kaplan-Meier methods from date of first hospital admission and compared for patients with and without ARF.


There were 41 admissions to the intensive care unit among 39 patients, with 56.4% in-hospital mortality. Higher physiologic scores (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II [APACHE II], Acute Lung Injury, and modified Multisystem Organ Failure scores) were predictive of in-hospital mortality. Duration of previous maximal therapy also predicted in-hospital mortality (45% for patients with <5 days of previous maximal therapy vs 88% for those with >or= to 5 days of previous maximal therapy; P=.03). Combining physiologic scores and duration of previous maximal therapy enhanced prediction of in-hospital mortality. There was no difference in long-term survival between patients with PCP with ARF and those without ARF (P=.80), and baseline characteristics did not predict long-term survival.


In-hospital mortality of patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related PCP and ARF is predicted by duration of previous maximal therapy and physiologic scores, and their combination enhances predictive accuracy. Long-term survival of patients with ARF caused by PCP is comparable to that of patients with PCP who do not develop ARF, and determinants of in-hospital mortality do not predict long-term survival.

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