ABSTRACT: Diffuse lung infiltrates are a common finding in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and causes range from infectious processes to malignancies or interstitial lung diseases. Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis is a rare pulmonary disorder rarely reported in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus. Secondary pulmonary alveolar proteinosis is associated with conditions involving functional impairment or reduced numbers of alveolar macrophages. It can be caused by hematologic malignancies, inhalation of toxic dust, fumes or gases, infectious or pharmacologic immunosuppression, or lysinuric protein intolerance.
A 42-year-old African American man infected with human immunodeficiency virus was admitted with chronic respiratory symptoms and diffuse pulmonary infiltrates. Chest computed tomography revealed bilateral spontaneous pneumothoraces, for which he required bilateral chest tubes. Initial laboratory investigations did not reveal any contributory conditions. Histological examination of a lung biopsy taken during video-assisted thoracoscopy showed pulmonary alveolar proteinosis concurrent with cytomegalovirus pneumonitis. After ganciclovir treatment, our patient showed radiologic and clinical improvement.
The differential diagnosis for patients with immunosuppression and lung infiltrates requires extensive investigations. As pulmonary alveolar proteinosis is rare, the diagnosis can be easily missed. Our case highlights the importance of invasive investigations and histology in the management of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus and pulmonary disease who do not respond to empiric therapy.
Journal of Medical Case Reports 01/2011; 5:46.