Body mass index at time of HIV diagnosis: a strong and independent predictor of survival.

Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, Banjul, The Gambia.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (Impact Factor: 4.39). 11/2004; 37(2):1288-94.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Identification of basic prognostic indicators of HIV infection is essential before widespread antiretroviral therapy can be implemented in low-technology settings. This study assessed how well body mass index (BMI:kg/m2) predicts survival.
BMI within 3 months of HIV diagnosis was obtained from 1657 patients aged > or = 15 years, recruited in a seroprevalent clinical cohort in The Gambia since 1992 and followed up at least once. Baseline CD4+ counts and clinical assessment at time of diagnosis were done.
The mortality hazard ratio (HR) of those with a baseline BMI <18 compared with those with a baseline BMI > or = 18 was 3.4 (95% CI, 3.0-3.9). The median survival time of those presenting with a BMI <16 was 0.8 years, in contrast to a median survival of 8.9 years for those with a baseline BMI > or = 22. Baseline BMI <18 remained a highly significant independent predictor of mortality after adjustment for age, sex, co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, tuberculosis, reported wasting at diagnosis, and baseline CD4+ cell count (adjusted HR = 2.5, 95% CI 2.0-3.0). Sensitivity and specificity of baseline BMI <18 was comparable to that of a CD4+ count <200 in predicting mortality within 6 months of diagnosis.
BMI at diagnosis is a strong, independent predictor of survival in HIV-infected patients in West Africa. In the absence of sophisticated clinical and laboratory support, BMI may also prove a useful guide for deciding when to initiate antiretroviral therapy.

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