CT Pulmonary Angiography Findings in HIV-Infected Patients Referred for Suspected Pulmonary Thrombo-Embolic Disease

Document Type


Publication Date



BACKGROUND: South Africa bares a significant burden of HIV and imaging is commonly performed as part of the workup for respiratory distress. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to document the prevalence of pulmonary thrombo-embolic disease (PTED) and other findings in HIV-infected patients referred for CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for suspected PTED. METHOD: Forty CTPA studies of documented HIV-infected individuals investigated for suspected PTED during a 1-year period were retrieved, anonymised and interpreted by three consultant radiologists. Inter-reader reliability was calculated using Free Marginal multi-rater Kappa. RESULTS: Fourteen of the forty cases (35%) were positive for PTED. In the pulmonary embolism (PE)-positive group, 57.14% had peripheral disease and 42.86% had both peripheral and central disease. Associated findings in the PE-positive cases were pulmonary infarcts (17.5%), mosaic attenuation (17.5%) and linear atelectasis (7.5%). The most common incidental findings were solid pulmonary nodules (52.5%), non-wedge-shaped consolidation (45%), cardiomegaly (52.5%) and enlarged intra-thoracic lymph nodes (52.5%). Thirty per cent of the study population had findings related directly to the presence of PTED, whilst most cases in the study (77.5%) had pulmonary findings unrelated to PTED. In the PE-negative cases, 55% reported emergent findings that warranted immediate or urgent medical attention. CONCLUSION: Computed tomography pulmonary angiography imaging is critical for diagnosing PE. However, further investigation into the judicious application of CTPA in HIV-infected patients with suspected PTED is required, as CTPA findings in most of the cases in this study were unrelated to PE.