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Kaposi's Sarcoma Causing Pulmonary Infiltrates and Respiratory Failure in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

FREDERICK P. OGNIBENE, M.D.; RONALD G. STEIS, M.D.; ABE M. MACHER, M.D.; LANCE LIOTTA, M.D., Ph.D; EDWARD GELMANN, M.D.; HARVEY I. PASS, M.D.; H. CLIFFORD LANE, M.D.; ANTHONY S. FAUCI, M.D.; JOSEPH E. PARRILLO, M.D.; HENRY MASUR, M.D.; and JAMES H. SHELHAMER, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Frederick P. Ognibene, M.D.; Critical Care Medicine Department, Room 10D-48, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD 20205.


Bethesda, Maryland


©1985 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(4):471-475. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-102-4-471
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Although an aggressive form of Kaposi's sarcoma often develops in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, most patients die due to opportunistic infections rather than the direct effects of this tumor. Because Kaposi's sarcoma has caused pulmonary dysfunction in a number of our patients, we attempted to characterize features of pulmonary dysfunction induced by Kaposi's sarcoma. In 66 patients with Kaposi's sarcoma treated between 1982 and 1984 there were 30 episodes of pulmonary dysfunction that resulted in a biopsy. Six episodes were due to pulmonary Kaposi's sarcoma alone, and 6 additional episodes were due to Kaposi's sarcoma and associated opportunistic infections. Clinical and radiologic features of pulmonary Kaposi's sarcoma and infection were indistinguishable. Pulmonary Kaposi's sarcoma could only be documented in large tissue sections available from open-lung biopsy or autopsy samples. Because chemotherapy or radiation therapy appears to provide palliation, clinicians should recognize Kaposi's sarcoma as a cause of pulmonary disease in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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