Objectives: To describe the incidence, causes, and impact of pleural effusion and pneumothorax in hospitalized patients with HIV infection.
Design: Prospective, observational.
Setting: A university-affiliated medical center.
Methods: During a 3-year period, 599 HIV-infected patients with a total of 1,225 consecutive hospital admissions were followed. A total of 1,097 hospital admissions were included. Patients' medical records, chest radiographs, and computerized laboratory values were reviewed.
Results: Pleural effusions developed in 160 hospital admissions (14. 6%). The effusions were right sided (56%), left sided (29%), and bilateral (15%). Their sizes were small (65%), moderate (23%), large (9%), and massive (4%). The associated conditions were infectious: bacterial pneumonia (n = 50), pulmonary tuberculosis (n = 10), Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP; n = 5), and empyema (n = 2); and noninfectious: renal failure (n = 15), hypoalbuminemia (n = 12), malignancy (n = 9), pancreatitis (n = 7), hepatic cirrhosis (n = 5), congestive heart failure (n = 4), atelectasis (n = 3), pulmonary embolism (n = 3), trauma (n = 1), and surgery (n = 1). Pneumothorax developed in 13 hospital admissions (1.2%). The conditions associated with pneumothorax were iatrogenic (n = 4), bacterial pneumonia (n = 3), PCP (n = 2), positive pressure ventilation for PCP (n = 2), pulmonary Mycobacterium avium complex (n = 1), and trauma (n = 1). The in-hospital mortality of hospital admissions with pleural effusion was 10.0% compared to 5.4% of those without pleural effusion (p = 0.0407). The in-hospital mortality of hospital admissions with pneumothorax was 30.8% compared to 5.8% of those without pneumothorax (p = 0.0060).
Conclusions: Pleural effusions occur in 14.6% of hospital admissions in our patient population with HIV infection. Bacterial pneumonia is the condition most commonly associated with pleural effusion. Pneumothorax, seen in 1.2% of hospital admissions with HIV infection, is associated with poor outcome.