Pulmonary complications of AIDS: radiologic features

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1984 Jul;143(1):115-22. doi: 10.2214/ajr.143.1.115.


Fifty-two patients with pulmonary complications of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were studied over a 3-year period. The vast majority of the patients were homosexual; however, a significant number were intravenous drug abusers. Thirteen different organisms were noted, of which Pneumocystis carinii was by far the most common. Five patients had neoplasia. Most patients had initial abnormal chest films; however, eight patients subsequently shown to have Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia had normal chest films. A significant overlap in chest radiographic findings was noted among patients with different or multiple organisms. Lung biopsy should be an early consideration for all patients with a clinical history consistent with the pulmonary complications of AIDS. Repeat biopsy is also indicated to ascertain the progression of radiographic findings. Unfortunately, even with documentation of the nature of the pulmonary process, treatment often is ineffective. Of the 52 patients, 41 had died by the time this report was completed.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Female
  • Homosexuality
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders