Pseudomonas spp. complications in patients with HIV disease: an eight-year clinical and microbiological survey

Eur J Epidemiol. 2000 Feb;16(2):111-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1007626410724.


Two hundred and twenty-four episodes of Pseudomonas spp. complications that occurred in 179 consecutive patients with HIV infection were retrospectively reviewed. Pseudomonas spp. organisms were responsible for 11.6% of 1933 episodes of non-mycobacterial bacterial diseases (5.4% of 1072 episodes of sepsis), observed over an 8-year period; 20.7% of patients experienced disease relapses (45 episodes). These complications mostly involved lower airways (66 cases), urinary tract (53 episodes), and blood (34 cases), with Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated in 161 episodes, and other Pseudomonas spp. in the remaining 63 cases. An advanced HIV disease was frequently present (as expressed by a prior diagnosis of AIDS, a low CD4+ lymphocyte count, and leukopenia-neutropenia). Indwelling intravascular and urinary catheters were often associated with bacteremia and urinary tract involvement, respectively. More than 60% of patients were given antibiotics and/or cotrimoxazole in the month preceding the onset of Pseudomonas spp. disease. Bacterial strains isolated from our HIV-infected patients showed a favorable sensitivity to piperacillin, ceftazidime, imipenem, amikacin, tobramycin, and ciprofloxacin. An adequate antimicrobial treatment led to clinical and microbiological cure in 73.2% of patients at the first episode, and in 22.3% more subjects after one or more relapses. A lethal outcome occurred in only eight patients of 179 (4.5%), suffering from a far advanced HIV disease; P. aeruginosa infection directly contributed to death in four cases (sepsis, and/or pneumonia). Nosocomial disease occurred in 46.4% of the 224 episodes, and was significantly related to a previous diagnosis of AIDS, concurrent neutropenia, the occurrence of sepsis or urinary tract infection, disease relapses, the involvement of non-aeruginosa Pseudomonas spp., and a lethal outcome, compared with community-acquired infection. Our experience (the largest reported to date) confirms that Pseudomonas spp. (including non-aeruginosa Pseudomonas spp. organisms) is responsible for remarkable morbidity and mortality among patients with HIV infection, and may pose relevant problems to clinicians and microbiologists involved in the care of HIV-infected patients.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / microbiology*
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / mortality
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cricetinae
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / mortality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Pseudomonas / classification
  • Pseudomonas / isolation & purification
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections / etiology*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents