Pulmonary infiltrates in the patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) may be associated with a spectrum of unusual neoplastic and infectious process. Transbronchial biopsy frequently reveals the cause of these infiltrates; however, when transbronchial biopsy is nondiagnostic or contraindicated, or if the patient fails to improve after a diagnostic transbronchial biopsy, further investigation is warranted to direct appropriate therapy. Efficacy of 23 open-lung biopsies in 19 AIDS patients with pulmonary infiltrates was evaluated to define the indications for and the diagnostic yield of open-lung biopsy. Pulmonary infiltrates were recognized for a mean duration (± standard error) of 16 ± 2 days before open-lung biopsy and were associated with fever and cough. These patients did not have prior transbronchial biopsy, and open-lung biopsy was diagnostic in all of these. Prior transbronchial biopsy performed in the remaining 16 patients was nondiagnostic in 10. Open-lung biopsy was diagnostic in 70% of these patients (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, 2 patients; Kaposi's sarcoma, 3 patients; Kaposi's sarcoma and Legionella pneumophila, 1 patient; cytomegalovirus, 1 patient). The other 6 patients having a previous diagnostic transbronchial biopsy failed to improve with therapy, and open-lung biopsy resulted in a therapeutic change in 67% of these patients. Two deaths were attributable to open-lung biopsy in patients with postoperative thrombocytopenic hemorrhage. Open-lung biopsy should be performed in AIDS patients when transbronchial biopsy is nondiagnostic or contraindicated, or in patients who fail to improve with appropriate therapy after diagnostic trans-bronchial biopsy, especially in patients with Kaposi's sarcoma. The diagnostic yield will be high, and major therapeutic changes will be instituted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine