Patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at risk of acquiring a great variety of critical illnesses because of progressive immunodeficiency and the multiple exposures to medications they are receiving. Notwithstanding the great availability of prophylactic effective treatments, Pneumocystis carinii (recently called Pneumocystis jiroveci) continues to be an important cause for pneumonia and respiratory failure, requiring admission to the ICU with a significant risk of increased mortality. Bacterial sepsis is another reason for managing this group of patients at the ICU. This imposes a challenge for critical care personnel because of the worse prognosis observed in this population. On the other hand, the effective use of combined antiretroviral therapy [highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)] has reduced the high incidence of opportunistic infections and has drastically improved long-term survival in patients infected with HIV.2 Nevertheless, the use of these agents could be associated with severe adverse effects (e.g., pancreatitis, hepatic steatosis, and lactic acidosis syndrome), which in a great many cases require management in the ICU.
KeywordsHuman Immunodeficiency Virus Acute Pancreatitis Hepatic Steatosis Lactic Acidosis Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia
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