Pleural effusions typically present with nonspecific pulmonary complaints in the setting of either acute or chronic diseases. In the general population, these illnesses include congestive heart failure, infection, and malignancy. However, in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), pleural effusions often result from opportunistic infections and AIDS-defining malignancies, such as Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy, there has been a decline in the frequency of AIDS-defining opportunistic infections and AIDS-defining cancers and an increase in certain non-AIDS-defining malignancies including lung cancer. Throughout this period, longer life expectancy in PLWHA has contributed to an increased risk of those chronic diseases that can result in pleural effusions. This case describes an HIV-infected man who was an active cigarette smoker and alcoholic and who presented with a large pleural effusion of uncertain etiology. The authors review several important noncardiac risk factors associated with pleural effusions in PLWHA. The authors also emphasize the importance of obtaining a detailed medical history and the use of appropriate imaging and laboratory tests in order to identify an underlying cause and to provide optimal treatment.
Diagnosis and Management of a Pancreaticopleural Fistula in a Patient with AIDS and a Large Pleural Effusion.