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November 22, 1976

Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia

Author Affiliations

Shadyside Hospital Pittsburgh

JAMA. 1976;236(21):2392-2393. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270220014013

To the Editor.—  Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia is characterized by progressive interstial inflammation caused by this protozoan. The diagnosis necessitates identification of the ameboid or encysted form in biopsy sections or impression smears of the lung, but the organism has been found in bronchial washings. We have encountered an instance in which biopsy specimens of a lower lobe bronchus and small portion of adjacent lung were negative for P carinii, but the organism was found in the sputum. Pneumonia disappeared during pentamidine isethionate therapy.

Report of a Case.—  A 47-year-old accounting clerk, alcoholic for ten years up to several months ago and emphysematous for two years, complained of anorexia, weight loss of 15.30 kg, weakness, and a nocturnal cough with yellowish sputum of two months' duration. He denied chills, fever, or night sweats. History was noncontributory. The patient smoked a pipe for eight years and ingested vitamin pills daily.He weighed