Progressive disseminated histoplasmosis in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Philip C. Johnson, Nancy Khardor, Amjad F. Najjar, Faheem Butt, Peter W.A. Mansell, George A. Sarosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Purpose: Progressive disseminated histoplasmosis is now diagnosed frequently in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) living in the central United States. Previous review articles of AIDS have failed to mention this infection. Herein, we describe 48 AIDS patients with progressive disseminated histoplasmosis in an effort to better understand the clinical presentation and diagnosis of the condition in this setting and to assess the efficacy of antifungal chemotherapy. Patients and methods: In the Houston metro politan area, there were 66 cases of progressive disseminated histoplasmosis among 1,300 confirmed cases of AIDS from January 1983 to July 1987. Of AIDS patients in East Texas with histoplasmosis, 16 patients were available for follow-up by one of us, and the histories of 32 were obtained by examination of hospital charts and physician records. Results: Fever, weight loss, and splenomegaly were the most common presenting signs and symptoms, occurring in 81, 52, and 31 percent, respectively. One-third of the patients had hematologic abnormalities. Infiltrates on chest roentgenograms were observed in 52 percent. Progressive disseminated histoplasmosis was the initial manifestation of AIDS in almost three-fourths of our patients. Biopsy and culture of the bone marrow established the diagnosis of progressive disseminated histoplasmosis in 69 percent. Clinical or autopsy proof of relapse occurred in three patients despite an initial course of more than 2 g of amphotericin B chemoherapy followed by ketoconazole suppression. Conclusion: Progressive disseminated histoplasmosis is often the first sign of immunodeficiency in patients with AIDS, and the diagnosis of this condition is most often established by bone marrow biopsy and culture. Because of the permanence of the immunodeficient state in these patients, progressive disseminated histoplasmosis is resistant to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-158
Number of pages7
JournalThe American Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1988


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