Corticosteroids as adjunctive therapy for severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in non-human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients: retrospective study of 31 patients

Clin Infect Dis. 1999 Sep;29(3):670-2. doi: 10.1086/598651.


The aim of this retrospective study was to assess whether corticosteroid adjunctive therapy (CAT) could prevent death in immunocompromised patients with severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) who do not have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, similarly to what has been demonstrated for HIV-infected patients. The charts of all non-HIV-infected patients who were admitted to two medical intensive care units between 1988 and 1996 because of severe PCP, defined by an arterial oxygen pressure (determined while the patient was breathing room air) of <70 mm Hg, and who were treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole were analyzed retrospectively. Thirty-one patients met the study criteria, of whom 23 received CAT (within 72 hours of antibiotic therapy) and eight did not receive CAT. The need for mechanical ventilation (10 [43%] of 23 vs. 4 [50%] of 8) and the mortality rate (9 [39%] of 23 vs. 4 [50%] of 8) were similar for the two groups. Although this small study does not have a statistical power high enough to rule out the possibility of a difference, the results suggest that CAT does not improve the survival of non-HIV-infected patients as has been described for HIV-infected patients with severe PCP.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / immunology*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / mortality
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / administration & dosage*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination