As recently discussed by several authors, increased concentrations of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and with altered chest roentgenograms strongly suggest a Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.1-4 A similar analysis was considered for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a very frequent pathogen in Mexican patients with AIDS.
Specimens from 40 patients with AIDS were studied in a search for both mycobacteria and P carinii in sputum and/or bronchial washings with serum LDH determinations. Overall, the average LDH level was 508.65 IU. Eight patients (20%) were mycobacteria-positive, with an LDH medium of 525.20 IU, whereas 17 patients (42.5%) proved positive for P carinii with an LDH medium of 496.82 IU. Mycobacteria-negative patients had an LDH medium of 504.5 IU, while P carinii—negative patients had LDH media of 517.3 IU. Kruskal-Wallis analysis yielded a significant two-tailed test result (P=.05363), and a Mann-Whitney U analysis was rendered not significant.