Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection in AIDS: clinical, pathologic, and radiographic features

Radiology. 1986 Jul;160(1):77-82. doi: 10.1148/radiology.160.1.3715048.


The medical records, radiographs, and pathologic specimens of ten patients with the diagnoses of nontuberculous mycobacterial infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were examined. The radiographic findings of alveolar or nodular infiltrates and adenopathy were relatively nonspecific but in most cases led to bronchoscopic study or open-lung biopsy, which established the diagnosis. Bronchoscopic washings or sputum cultures, which frequently provided the first confirmation of infection, were always followed by positive blood or tissue cultures. In contrast to nontuberculous infection in immunocompetent hosts, disseminated infection was common, with evidence of extrapulmonary involvement in nine patients. On the basis of these findings, we recommend that any AIDS patient with sputum or bronchoscopic washings demonstrating nontuberculous mycobacterial organisms be tentatively classified as having disseminated infection while being evaluated with blood, bone-marrow, stool, and urine cultures, even if the chest radiograph shows no disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / diagnostic imaging
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / etiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / pathology
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / etiology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / pathology