Evolution of Chest Radiographs in Treated Patients with Pulmonary Tuberculosis and HIV Infection

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SummaryA large number of patients with coexisting tuberculosis and HIV infection has been reported. The chest radiographic findings are well described and primarily consist of bilateral, medium-to-coarse reticulonodular opacities often associated with hilar and mediastinal adenopathy. The evolution of chest radiographic abnormalities following treatment for tuberculosis in patients with HIV infection has not been previously studied. Initial and follow-up chest films of 33 patients with tuberculosis and HIV infection were evaluated. All 25 patients whose only pulmonary infection was tuberculosis exhibited radio-graphic improvement after appropriate treatment. In 8 patients, the chest radiograph worsened while on tuberculosis therapy. In each of these individuals, a newly acquired nontuberculous pulmonary disease was diagnosed as the cause of radiographic deterioration. We conclude that chest radiographs in patients with tuberculosis and HIV-infection will improve with appropriate tuberculosis therapy. Worsening of the chest radiograph does not suggest a poor therapeutic response, but instead indicates the presence of another pulmonary disease.

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