BackgroundAccurately differentiating pneumocystis from cytomegalovirus pneumonia is crucial for correct therapy selection in AIDS patients. Hence, the goal of this study was to compare the computerized tomography (CT) features of pneumocystis pneumonia and cytomegalovirus pneumonia in AIDS patients and identify clinical hallmarks to accurately distinguish these two pathologies.MethodsA total of 112 AIDS patients (78 with pneumocystis pneumonia and 34 cytomegalovirus pneumonia) at Beijing Ditan Hospital from January 2017 to May 2019 were included in this study. Two experienced chest radiologists retrospectively reviewed CT images for 17 features including ground-glass opacity, consolidation, nodules, and halo sign. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify the significant parameters that distinguished pneumocystis pneumonia from cytomegalovirus pneumonia. Correlations were analyzed by Pearson or Spearman correlation analyses. Result were considered significant if P < 0.05.ResultsThe presence of consolidation, halo signs, and nodules (all P < 0.05) were significantly more frequent in patients with cytomegalovirus pneumonia than in those with pneumocystis pneumonia. Small nodules (32.5% in cytomegalovirus pneumonia, 6.41% in pneumocystis pneumonia, P < 0.001) without perilymphatic distribution were particularly common in patients with cytomegalovirus pneumonia. Large nodules were not found in any of patients with cytomegalovirus pneumonia. The presence of ground-glass opacity, reticulation, and bronchial wall thickening (all P > 0.05) were common in both groups.ConclusionsAnalysis of consolidation, nodules, and halo signs may contribute to the differential diagnosis of pneumocystis pneumonia or cytomegalovirus pneumonia. However, some CT features considered typical in one or other diseases appear with similar frequency in both cohorts of AIDS patients. CT features are potentially useful for the differential diagnosis of pneumocystis pneumonia and cytomegalovirus pneumonia in AIDS patients.