Elevations in Mortality Associated with Weaning Persist into the Second Year of Life among Uninfected Children Born to HIV-Infected Mothers

Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Departments of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
Clinical Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 8.89). 02/2010; 50(3):437-44. DOI: 10.1086/649886
Source: PubMed


Early weaning has been recommended to reduce postnatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission. We evaluated the safety of stopping breast-feeding at different ages for mortality of uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers.
During a trial of early weaning, 958 HIV-infected mothers and their infants were recruited and followed up from birth to 24 months postpartum in Lusaka, Zambia. One-half of the cohort was randomized to wean abruptly at 4 months, and the other half of the cohort was randomized to continue breast-feeding. We examined associations between uninfected child mortality and actual breast-feeding duration and investigated possible confounding and effect modification.
The mortality rate among 749 uninfected children was 9.4% by 12 months of age and 13.6% by 24 months of age. Weaning during the interval encouraged by the protocol (4-5 months of age) was associated with a 2.03-fold increased risk of mortality (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13-3.65), weaning at 6-11 months of age was associated with a 3.54-fold increase (95% CI, 1.68-7.46), and weaning at 12-18 months of age was associated with a 4.22-fold increase (95% CI, 1.59-11.24). Significant effect modification was detected, such that risks associated with weaning were stronger among infants born to mothers with higher CD4(+) cell counts (>350 cells/microL).
Shortening the normal duration of breast-feeding for uninfected children born to HIV-infected mothers living in low-resource settings is associated with significant increases in mortality extending into the second year of life. Intensive nutritional and counseling interventions reduce but do not eliminate this excess mortality.

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    • "In the PEPI Malawi study, cumulative infant mortality for HIV-exposed uninfected infants at 12 months was 35 per 1000 among infants still breastfeeding, compared with 43 per 1000 for those previously weaned[24]. In the ZEBS study, a mortality rate of 94 per 1000 was observed among 749 HIVuninfected infants by 12 months of age[40]and was substantially influenced by time of weaning. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · AIDS
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    • "Early breastfeeding cessation was a significant risk factor for both neonatal and early mortality. Breastfeeding has a significant role in infant survival for all infants including those born to HIV-infected women [20,25,26]. Maternal death was also related to infant mortality and is closely related to cessation of breastfeeding. "
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-infected women, particularly those with advanced disease, may have higher rates of pregnancy loss (miscarriage and stillbirth) and neonatal mortality than uninfected women. Here we examine risk factors for these adverse pregnancy outcomes in a cohort of HIV-infected women in Zambia considering the impact of infant HIV status. A total of 1229 HIV-infected pregnant women were enrolled (2001-2004) in Lusaka, Zambia and followed to pregnancy outcome. Live-born infants were tested for HIV by PCR at birth, 1 week and 5 weeks. Obstetric and neonatal data were collected after delivery and the rates of neonatal (<28 days) and early mortality (<70 days) were described using Kaplan-Meier methods. The ratio of miscarriage and stillbirth per 100 live-births were 3.1 and 2.6, respectively. Higher maternal plasma viral load (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] for each log10 increase in HIV RNA copies/ml = 1.90; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10-3.27) and being symptomatic were associated with an increased risk of stillbirth (AOR = 3.19; 95% CI 1.46-6.97), and decreasing maternal CD4 count by 100 cells/mm3 with an increased risk of miscarriage (OR = 1.25; 95% CI 1.02-1.54). The neonatal mortality rate was 4.3 per 100 increasing to 6.3 by 70 days. Intrauterine HIV infection was not associated with neonatal morality but became associated with mortality through 70 days (adjusted hazard ratio = 2.76; 95% CI 1.25-6.08). Low birth weight and cessation of breastfeeding were significant risk factors for both neonatal and early mortality independent of infant HIV infection. More advanced maternal HIV disease was associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Excess neonatal mortality in HIV-infected women was not primarily explained by infant HIV infection but was strongly associated with low birth weight and prematurity. Intrauterine HIV infection contributed to mortality as early as 70 days of infant age. Interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes for HIV-infected women are needed to complement necessary therapeutic and prophylactic antiretroviral interventions.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · BMC Pediatrics
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    • "Infected infants who were weaned from breast milk by five months had a 74% mortality rate at 24 months compared to 55% amongst those with prolonged breastfeeding [18]. This risk continued into the second year of life with weaning before 18 months of age associated with increased risk of child death compared to breastfeeding beyond 18 months [32]. An earlier study conducted at the same sites as the PROMISE study found that health workers suggesting formula use was the strongest predictor of complete breastfeeding cessation by 24 weeks amongst HIV-positive women [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Breastfeeding is a critical component of interventions to reduce child mortality. Exclusive breastfeeding practice is extremely low in South Africa and there has been no improvement in this over the past ten years largely due to fears of HIV transmission. Early cessation of breastfeeding has been found to have negative effects on child morbidity and survival in several studies in Africa. This paper reports on determinants of early breastfeeding cessation among women in South Africa. Methods This is a sub group analysis of a community-based cluster-randomized trial (PROMISE EBF) promoting exclusive breastfeeding in three South African sites (Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal) between 2006 and 2008 ( no: NCT00397150). Infant feeding recall of 22 food and fluid items was collected at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks postpartum. Women’s experiences of breast health problems were also collected at the same time points. 999 women who ever breastfed were included in the analysis. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusting for site, arm and cluster, was performed to determine predictors of stopping breastfeeding by 12 weeks postpartum. Results By 12 weeks postpartum, 20% of HIV-negative women and 40% of HIV-positive women had stopped all breastfeeding. About a third of women introduced other fluids, most commonly formula milk, within the first 3 days after birth. Antenatal intention not to breastfeed and being undecided about how to feed were most strongly associated with stopping breastfeeding by 12 weeks (Adjusted odds ratio, AOR 5.6, 95% CI 3.4 – 9.5 and AOR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6 – 10.8, respectively). Also important was self-reported breast health problems associated with a 3-fold risk of stopping breastfeeding (AOR 3.1, 95%CI 1.7 – 5.7) and the mother having her own income doubled the risk of stopping breastfeeding (AOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3 – 2.8). Conclusion Early cessation of breastfeeding is common amongst both HIV-negative and positive women in South Africa. There is an urgent need to improve antenatal breastfeeding counselling taking into account the challenges faced by working women as well as early postnatal lactation support to prevent breast health problems.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · BMC Pediatrics
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