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Tuberculosis (TB) is estimated to be the leading cause of HIV-related deaths globally. However, since HIV-associated TB frequently remains unascertained, we systematically reviewed autopsy studies to determine the true burden of TB at death.We systematically searched Medline and Embase databases (to end 2013) for literature reporting on health facility-based autopsy studies of HIV-infected adults and/or children in resource-limited settings. Using forest plots and random-effects meta-analysis, we summarized the TB prevalence found at autopsy and used meta-regression to explore variables associated with autopsy TB prevalence.We included 36 eligible studies, reporting on 3237 autopsies. Autopsy TB prevalence was extremely heterogeneous (range 0–64.4%), but was markedly higher in adults [pooled prevalence 39.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 32.4–47.0%] compared to children (pooled prevalence 4.5%, 95% CI 1.7–7.4%). Post-mortem TB prevalence varied by world region, with pooled estimates in adults of 63.2% (95% CI 57.7–68.7%) in South Asia (n = 2 studies); 43.2% (95% CI 38.0–48.3) in sub-Saharan Africa (n = 9 studies); and 27.1% (95% CI 16.0–38.1%) in the Americas (n = 5 studies). Autopsy prevalence positively correlated with contemporary estimates of national TB prevalence. TB in adults was disseminated in 87.9% (82.2–93.7%) of cases and was considered the cause of death in 91.4% (95% CI 85.8–97.0%) of TB cases. Overall, TB was the cause of death in 37.2% (95% CI 25.7–48.7%) of adult HIV/AIDS-related deaths. TB remained undiagnosed at death in 45.8% (95% CI 32.6–59.1%) of TB cases.In resource-limited settings, TB accounts for approximately 40% of facility-based HIV/AIDS-related adult deaths. Almost half of this disease remains undiagnosed at the time of death. These findings highlight the critical need to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV-associated TB globally.