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Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia in Pregnancy*

Hussain Ahmad, MD; Nirav J. Mehta, MD; Vivek M. Manikal, MD; Teresita J. Lamoste, MD; Edward K. Chapnick, MD; Larry I. Lutwick, MD; Douglas V. Sepkowitz, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Division of Infectious Diseases (Drs. Ahmad, Manikal, Lamoste, Chapnick, and Lutwick), Department of Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY; and the Division of Infectious Diseases (Drs. Mehta and Sepkowitz), Department of Medicine, Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.

Correspondence to: Douglas Sepkowitz, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks St, Brooklyn, NY 11201



Chest. 2001;120(2):666-671. doi:10.1378/chest.120.2.666
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Objective: To report five new cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and to review and analyze the existing reports on the subject.

Method: Five new cases of PCP during pregnancy are described. The cases, case series, and related articles on the subject in the English language were identified through a comprehensive MEDLINE search and reviewed.

Results: More than 80% of women with AIDS are of reproductive age, and PCP is the most common cause of AIDS-related death in pregnant women in the United States. Among 22 reviewed cases, the mortality rate was 50% (11 of 22 patients), which is higher than that usually reported for HIV-infected individuals with PCP. Respiratory failure developed in 13 patients (59%), and mechanical ventilation was therefore required, and the survival rate in patients requiring mechanical ventilation was 31%. Maternal and fetal outcomes were better in cases of PCP during the third trimester of the pregnancy. A variety of treatment regimens were used, including sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (SXT) alone or in combination with pentamidine, steroids, and eflornithine. The survival rate in patients treated with SXT alone was 71% (5 of 7 patients) and for those treated with SXT and steroids was 60% (3 of 5 patients), with an overall survival rate in both groups of 66.6% (8 of 12 patients).

Conclusion: PCP has a more aggressive course during pregnancy, with increased morbidity and mortality. Maternal and fetal outcomes remain dismal. Treatment with SXT, compared to other therapies, may result in an improved outcome. Withholding appropriate PCP prophylaxis may adversely affect maternal and fetal outcomes.


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