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Radiological findings in nine AIDS patients with Rhodococcus equi pneumonia

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Rhodococcus equi (R. equi) infections have been incidentally reported as a cause of pulmonary infection in severely immunocompromised hosts, including AIDS patients. Our purpose is to describe the radiological findings in nine AIDS patients with R. equi pneumonia assessed by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), biopsies, cultures of sputum, and hemocultures. All patients were examined by chest radiographs and contrast-medium-enhanced chest CT. Dense pulmonary consolidations with or without cavitations accounted for the most striking radiological patterns. Chest CT also revealed six mediastinal involvements, strongly mimicking a lymphoma. Two of them had multiple bilateral pulmonary nodular opacities. Pleural effusion was not identified. Although intensive therapies were administered, seven among nine patients died within few months. In an AIDS patient living in a rural area or exposed to horses and presenting these radiological patterns, the possibility of R. equi pneumonia should be considered in the differential diagnosis along with other infectious diseases or lymphomas.

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Correspondence to: P. Schnyder

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Wicky, S., Cartei, F., Mayor, B. et al. Radiological findings in nine AIDS patients with Rhodococcus equi pneumonia. Eur. Radiol. 6, 826–830 (1996).

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Key words

  • AIDS
  • Rhodococcus equi
  • Mediastinal lymphadenopathy
  • CT