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1.  Inflammatory Responses in Blood Samples of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients with Pulmonary Infections 
We analyzed the characteristics of the inflammatory response occurring in blood during pulmonary infections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. A prospective study of consecutive hospital admissions of HIV-infected patients with new-onset radiologic pulmonary infiltrates was carried out in a tertiary university hospital from April 1998 to May 2001. Plasma cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP), interleukin 1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) levels were determined at the time of admission and 4, 5, and 6 days later. Patients were included in a protocol addressed to study etiology and outcome of disease. A total of 249 episodes of infection were included, with the main diagnoses being bacterial pneumonia (BP) (118 episodes), Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) (41 episodes), and mycobacteriosis (36 episodes). For these three patient groups, at the time of admission the median CRP and cytokine levels were as follows: CRP, 10.2, 3.8 and 5 mg/dl, respectively (P = 0.0001); IL-8, 19, 3, and 2.9 pg/ml (P = 0.045); and TNF-α, 46.4, 44, and 75 pg/ml, respectively (P = 0.029). There were no significant differences in levels of IL-1β, IL-6, or IL-10 among the patient groups. A total of 23 patients died. At the time of admission, HIV-infected patients with BP had higher plasma CRP and IL-8 levels than did PCP and mycobacteriosis patients. TNF-α levels were higher in patients with mycobacteriosis. An elevated IL-8 level (>61 pg/ml) at the time of admission was an independent factor associated with higher mortality (odds ratio, 12; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 235.5).
doi:10.1128/CDLI.11.3.608-614.2004
PMCID: PMC404570  PMID: 15138189
2.  Pulmonary Infiltrates in Immunosuppressed Patients: Analysis of a Diagnostic Protocol 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2002;40(6):2134-2140.
A diagnostic protocol was started to study the etiology of pulmonary infiltrates in immunosuppressed patients. The diagnostic yields of the different techniques were analyzed, with special emphasis on the importance of the sample quality and the role of rapid techniques in the diagnostic strategy. In total, 241 patients with newly developed pulmonary infiltrates within a period of 19 months were included. Noninvasive or invasive evaluation was performed according to the characteristics of the infiltrates. Diagnosis was achieved in 202 patients (84%); 173 patients (72%) had pneumonia, and specific etiologic agents were found in 114 (66%). Bronchoaspirate and bronchoalveolar lavage showed the highest yields, either on global analysis (23 of 35 specimens [66%] and 70 of 134 specimens [52%], respectively) or on analysis of each type of pneumonia. A tendency toward better results with optimal-quality samples was observed, and a statistically significant difference was found in sputum bacterial culture. Rapid diagnostic tests yielded results in 71 of 114 (62.2%) diagnoses of etiological pneumonia.
doi:10.1128/JCM.40.6.2134-2140.2002
PMCID: PMC130687  PMID: 12037077

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