Risk factors associated with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in juvenile myositis in North America

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2021 Feb 1;60(2):829-836. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keaa436.


Objectives: Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in adult myositis patients; however, there are few studies examining PJP in juvenile myositis [juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (JIIM)]. The purpose of this study was to determine the risk factors and clinical phenotypes associated with PJP in JIIM.

Methods: An research electronic data capture (REDCap) questionnaire regarding myositis features, disease course, medications and PJP infection characteristics was completed by treating physicians for 13 JIIM patients who developed PJP (PJP+) from the USA and Canada. Myositis features and medications were compared with 147 JIIM patients without PJP (PJP-) from similar geographic regions who enrolled in National Institutes of Health natural history studies.

Results: PJP+ patients were more often of Asian ancestry than PJP- patients [odds ratio (OR) 8.7; 95% CI 1.3, 57.9]. Anti- melanoma differentiation associated protein 5 (MDA5) autoantibodies (OR 12.5; 95% CI 3.0, 52.4), digital infarcts (OR 43.8; 95% CI 4.2, 460.2), skin ulcerations (OR 12.0; 95% CI 3.5, 41.2) and interstitial lung disease (OR 10.6; 95% CI 2.1, 53.9) were more frequent in PJP+ patients. Before PJP diagnosis, patients more frequently received pulse steroids, rituximab and more immunosuppressive therapy compared with PJP- patients. Seven PJP+ patients were admitted to the intensive care unit and four patients died due to PJP or its complications.

Conclusions: PJP is a severe infection in JIIM that can be associated with mortality. Having PJP was associated with more immunosuppressive therapy, anti-MDA5 autoantibodies, Asian race and certain clinical features, including digital infarcts, cutaneous ulcerations and interstitial lung disease. Prophylaxis for PJP should be considered in juvenile myositis patients with these features.

Keywords: Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia; anti-MDA5 autoantibodies; interstitial lung disease; juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies; myositis; opportunistic infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Child
  • Dermatomyositis* / blood
  • Dermatomyositis* / epidemiology
  • Dermatomyositis* / physiopathology
  • Dermatomyositis* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1 / immunology*
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial* / etiology
  • Male
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Opportunistic Infections / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis* / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis* / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis* / mortality
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Ulcer* / diagnosis
  • Skin Ulcer* / etiology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • IFIH1 protein, human
  • Interferon-Induced Helicase, IFIH1