Twenty-six lung biopsies were performed on immunocompromised children with interstitial pneumonia over a 4-year period. More than 50% of the patients had either bone marrow transplants or immunodeficiency syndromes. Biopsy diagnosis included viral, nonspecific interstitial pneumonitis, Pneumocystis carinii, and bacterial etiologies. Findings caused a change in treatment in 15 (58%) patients, and nine of these 15 (60%) survived. Survivors included five chidren with viral infections treated with antiviral agents. Only one of nine patients requiring preoperative intubation survived, while 11 of 17 (65%) not intubed before operation survived. Overall survival ws 46% and included 5 of 5 patients with leukemia, 2 of 3 patients with liver transplants, 2 of 6 patients with immunodeficiency syndromes, and 1 of 8 patients with bone marrow transplants. This report shows that (1) an infectious etiology was found in 65% of the cases; (2) there was a high incidence of viral pneumonitis; (3) biopsy indicated a change in treatment for the majority of the patients; (4) the change in treatment was associated with survival in 60%; (5) viral infections may be effectively treated; (6) the timely use of lung biopsy is an important adjunct in the diagnostic and therapeutic regimen for immuno-compromised children with interstitial pneumonia.
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