When should a sputum sample be obtained in the workup of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP)?

Updated: Apr 24, 2019
  • Author: Shelley A Gilroy, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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If P jiroveci pneumonia (PJP) is strongly suspected, obtain a sputum sample by sputum induction for histopathologic testing. Pneumocystis organisms are frequently found in sputum induced by inhalation of a hypertonic saline solution. Sputum induction is the quickest and least-invasive method for definitively diagnosing PJP. [29] Expectorated sputum has a very low sensitivity and should not be submitted for diagnosis. Pneumocystis antigen detection assays on sputum may also be helpful but may have a low sensitivity.

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