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J Infect. 2012 Aug;65(2):173-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2012.03.020. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Opportunistic infections in patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ, USA.



To describe the demographics, clinical manifestations, treatment, and outcomes of patients with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) who developed an opportunistic infection with Nocardia spp., mycobacteria or fungal pathogens.


A case of PAP and Nocardia spp. brain abscess is described. A comprehensive review of the English-language literature was conducted to identify all reported cases of PAP and opportunistic infections between 1950 and July, 2010.


Seventy five cases were reviewed. Thirty two patients (43%) had nocardial infection, 28 (37%) mycobacterial infection, and 15 (20%) fungal infection. Thirty nine patients (65%) were male. Seventeen patients (23%) were immunosuppressed. Twenty patients (27%) were active smokers. PAP was the initial diagnosis in 19 patients (33%), while infection presented first in 23 patients (40%); 16 patients (27%) had a concurrent diagnosis of PAP and infection. The average interval between PAP diagnosis and an opportunistic infection was 16 months. Lungs were the most common site of infection; extra-pulmonary infection was present in 27 patients (32%). Thirty nine patients (57%) survived through the follow-up period, while 31 died.


Opportunistic infections can either precede or follow a diagnosis of PAP. PAP should be considered in apparently immunocompetent patients who present with an opportunistic infection and diffuse alveolar infiltrates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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