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Bronchiectasis often misdiagnosed in HIV patients

Bronchiectasis, a chronic condition where the airways into the lungs become inflamed or infected, is being frequently misdiagnosed among HIV patients in Indiana and across the U.S. This was the finding of a study, the results of which were published in Case Reports in Pulmonology. The study was based on a series of reports involving 14 patients, aged 12 to 77, with both HIV and bronchiectasis.

These patients were treated either at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center or the Kings County Hospital Center, both in New York City, between 1999 and 2018. Twelve of the patients were female. Most were referred to a pulmonologist only in the later stages of their condition. Half were incorrectly diagnosed with a bacterial infection and underwent treatment for that while 43% were diagnosed as having pneumocystis pneumonia.

None of the patients were offered bronchodilator therapy. Patients’ primary health care providers did not see the lung scans, which explained how so few were referred to a pulmonologist. Of all the patients treated at those two medical centers in New York City from 1999 to 2018, only these 14 patients were found to have both HIV and bronchiectasis. However, the condition may be in even more HIV-positive individuals since the symptoms can be mistaken for those of other lung diseases.

Misdiagnoses can lead to unnecessary treatments, and in the meanwhile, the actual condition that patients have can enter an advanced stage and be harder to treat. Under medical malpractice law, victims of such an error are eligible for compensation. Of course, it all depends on the extent to which the doctor or other medical professional was negligent. Victims may want a lawyer to help them strengthen their claim. The lawyer may handle all negotiations for an out-of-court settlement.

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