BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-007912

Pneumocystis pneumonia in a non-HIV patient on chronic corticosteroid therapy: a question of prophylaxis

  1. Benjamin J Lloyd
  1. Department of Internal Medicine, The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, West Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael J Plakke, mjplakke{at}


A man in his late 50s with a history of membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis presented with fever and mild dyspnoea. He was HIV-negative and had been on corticosteroids as immunosuppression for 6 months prior to tapering them off 1 week before presentation. He was not taking prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. After unsuccessful treatment for community-acquired pneumonia, his condition worsened and he required intubation and mechanical ventilation. Full respiratory workup including bronchoscopy revealed P jirovecii as a source for the patient's infection. He was treated successfully with a 21-day course of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole  and eventually weaned off the ventilator. He has had no complications to date. In our review of this case and the existing literature, we believe that proper utilisation of prophylaxis for pneumocystis pneumonia may have prevented our patient's transfer to intensive care unit. In our article, we discuss this issue and explore current evidence for prophylaxis.

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