Risk Factors of Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Nationwide Population-Based Study

Gut Liver. 2024 May 15;18(3):489-497. doi: 10.5009/gnl230152. Epub 2023 Oct 23.


Background/aims: : Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) is a rare but potentially fatal infection. This study was conducted to investigate the risk factors for PJP in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.

Methods: : This nationwide, population-based study was conducted in Korea using claims data. Cases of PJP were identified in patients diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD) between 2010 and 2017, and the clinical data of each patient was analyzed. Dual and triple therapy was defined as the simultaneous prescription of two or three of the following drugs: steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, immunomodulators, and biologics.

Results: : During the mean follow-up period (4.6±2.3 years), 84 cases of PJP were identified in 39,462 IBD patients (31 CD and 53 UC). For CD patients, only age at diagnosis >40 years (hazard ratio [HR], 6.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.58 to 23.80) was significantly associated with the risk of PJP, whereas in UC patients, diagnoses of diabetes (HR, 2.51; 95% CI, 1.19 to 5.31) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (HR, 3.41; 95% CI, 1.78 to 6.52) showed significant associations with PJP risk. Triple therapy increased PJP risk in both UC (HR, 3.90; 95% CI, 1.54 to 9.88) and CD patients (HR, 5.69; 95% CI, 2.32 to 14.48). However, dual therapy increased PJP risk only in UC patients (HR, 2.53; 95% CI, 1.36 to 4.70). Additionally, 23 patients (27%) received intensive care treatment, and 10 (12%) died within 30 days.

Conclusions: : PJP risk factors differ in CD and UC patients. Considering the potential fatality of PJP, prophylaxis should be considered for at-risk IBD patients.

Keywords: Cohort studies; Crohn disease; Inflammatory bowel diseases; Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia; Ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / drug therapy
  • Crohn Disease* / complications
  • Crohn Disease* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumocystis carinii*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis* / epidemiology
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult