, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 166-175

Impact of haart on causes of death of persons with late-stage AIDS

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Abstract

Context

The increasing use of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAARTs) has changed the course of AIDS-related illnesses and enhanced the quality of life of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and may have changes the causes of deaths in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Objective

The aim of the present study was to investigate causes of deaths in long-term care hospital patients with late-stage AIDS who expired at the Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital in New York City in 1995, and in 1998 and 1999, that is, immediately before and the two most recent years after the advent of HAART.

Methods

Analysis of causes of deaths as recorded on the death certificates of 232 AIDS patients.

Results

The overall mortality rate declined from 75.6 deaths per 100 person-years in 1995 to 33.2 deaths per 100 person-years in 1998–1999 (P<.001) The number of AIDS patients who expired because of sepsis and opportunistic infections, which includedPneumocystis carinii Pneumonia (PCP), decreased significantly from 30 (26.1%) and 24 (20.9%) in 1995 to 15 (12.8%) and 10 (8.5%) in 1998–1999, respectively (P<.05). In contrast, deaths from hepatic failure increased from 0(0%) in 1995 to 7 (6%) in 1998–1999 (P<.05). Increases, although not significant statistically, were associated with pneumonias excluding PCP, end-stage AIDS, renal failure, and malignancies. Analysis of cause-specific mortality by gender between 1995 and 1998–1999 revealed very little difference between men and women. This analysis showed, however, that the infectious processes taken together (pneumonias excluding PCP, sepsis, and opportunistic infections including PCP) were significantly less frequent causes of death in 1998–1999 than in 1995 (P<.01).

Conclusion

These findings indicate that HAART affected the causes of deaths in patients with AIDS, with “traditional” opportunistic infections diminishing in importance relative to chronic medical conditions and malignancies.