Hospitalization and Mortality among HIV-Infected Children after Receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy

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Abstract

Background.

Pediatric antiretroviral therapy programs have recently been implemented in resource-limited settings. Their impact in a prospective cohort is not well documented. The aim of this study was to evaluate the rates and causes of hospitalization and mortality among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected Thai children after receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Methods.

Children who started receiving HAART from August 2002 to March 2005 were prospectively observed. The patients included in the study were antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected children who had CD4 cell percentages ≤15% before treatment. All patients were observed for at least 48 weeks.

Results.

One hundred ninety-two children were included. The mean age at HAART initiation was 7.6 years (range, 0.4–14.8 years). At baseline, the mean CD4 cell percentage (±;SD) was 5.2% ±; 4.9%, and the mean plasma HIV RNA level (±;SD) was 5.4 ±; 0.5 log10 copies/mL. Sixty-seven children (35%) were hospitalized a total of 108 times. The hospitalization rate decreased from 30.7% during the first 24-week period to 2.0% during weeks 120–144 after initiation of HAART. Fifty-nine hospital admissions (54.6%) occurred during the first 24 weeks of HAART. Causes of hospitalization were pneumonia and other bacterial infections (61.7%), immune reconstitution syndrome (23.4%), noninfectious illness (6.5%), opportunistic infection (5.6%), and drug-related events (2.8%). The mortality rate decreased from 5.7% in the first 24 weeks to 0%-0.6% in the subsequent 24-week intervals.

Conclusion.

Hospitalization and mortality rates significantly decreased among HIV-infected children receiving HAART. Most hospitalizations and deaths occurred during the first 24 weeks of HAART.

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