Usefulness of sputum culture for diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in HIV-infected patients.Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2002 May; 21(5):362-7.EJ
The use of sputum culture in immunocompetent patients with community-acquired pneumonia is controversial. The usefulness of this technique in HIV-infected patients has not been evaluated. A prospective, observational, multicenter, hospital-based study of bacterial community-acquired pneumonia was carried out to analyze the value of sputum culture in HIV-infected patients. Only good-quality sputum samples were cultured. Altogether, 355 cases of bacterial community-acquired pneumonia were included. An etiological diagnosis was obtained in 190 (53.5%) cases. Sputum was cultured in 313 (88.1%) cases, being diagnostic in 108 (34.5%). The microorganism identified in sputum culture was the same as that identified in sterile samples in 26 of 27 (96.3%) cases in which both cultures were diagnostic. The microbiologic findings in sputum and bronchoscopic cultures were concordant in seven of eight (87.5%) cases in which both were positive. These results suggest that sputum culture is a useful technique, given its availability and ease of performance and its good correlation with culture of sterile samples.