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J Clin Microbiol. 1988 Jul;26(7):1357-61.

Pneumocystis carinii antigenemia in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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Departments of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163.


The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence and significance of Pneumocystis carinii antigenemia in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and clinically or invasively diagnosed P. carinii pneumonitis. Single serum specimens from 20 AIDS patients invasively examined for P. carinii organisms and 106 AIDS patients with a clinical diagnosis only of P. carinii pneumonitis were blindly tested for P. carinii antigenemia by a counterimmunoelectrophoresis assay. In the 20 specimen-documented cases, the antigen test demonstrated a sensitivity of 75% and a specificity of 90%. The positive predictive value of the test was 90%, while the negative predictive value was 70%. In AIDS patients with specimen-documented P. carinii pneumonitis, the prevalence of P. carinii antigenemia coincided almost exactly with the prevalence of positive invasively obtained specimens (60 and 59%, respectively). In patients with a clinical diagnosis only of P. carinii pneumonitis, half as many (30%) were found to exhibit antigenemia. Sequential P. carinii antigen titers determined by a new latex agglutination technique on three AIDS patients with specimen-documented P. carinii pneumonitis demonstrated the influence of specific therapy upon P. carinii antigenemia and its potential prognostic application.

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