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Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Apr 15;46(8):1271-81. doi: 10.1086/533468.

Severe renal dysfunction and risk factors associated with renal impairment in HIV-infected adults in Africa initiating antiretroviral therapy.

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  • 1University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe.



We sought to investigate renal function in previously untreated symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults with CD4(+) cell counts of <200 cells/mm(3) who were undergoing antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Africa.


The study was an observational analysis within a randomized trial of ART management strategies that included 3316 participants with baseline serum creatinine levels of < or =360 micromol/L. Creatinine levels were measured before ART initiation, at weeks 4 and 12 of therapy, and every 12 weeks thereafter. We calculated estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using the Cockcroft-Gault formula. We analyzed the incidence of severely decreased eGFR (<30 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) and changes in eGFR to 96 weeks, considering demographic data, type of ART, and baseline biochemical and hematological characteristics as predictors, using random-effects models.


Sixty-five percent of the participants were women. Median values at baseline were as follows: age, 37 years; weight, 57 kg; CD4(+) cell count, 86 cells/mm(3); and eGFR, 89 mL/min/1.73 m(2). Of the participants, 1492 (45%) had mild (> or =60 but <90 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) and 237 (7%) had moderate (> or =30 but <60 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) impairments in eGFR. First-line ART regimens included zidovudine-lamivudine plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (for 74% of patients), nevirapine (16%), and abacavir (9%) (mostly nonrandomized allocation). After ART initiation, the median eGFR was 89-91 mL/min/1.73 m(2) for the period from week 4 through week 96. Fifty-two participants (1.6%) developed severe reductions in eGFR by week 96; there was no statistically significant difference between these patients and others with respect to first-line ART regimen received (P = .94). Lower baseline eGFR or hemoglobin level, lower body mass index, younger age, higher baseline CD4(+) cell count, and female sex were associated with greater increases in eGFR over baseline, with small but statistically significant differences between regimens (P < .001 for all).


Despite screening, mild-to-moderate baseline renal impairment was relatively common, but these participants had greatest increases in eGFR after starting ART. Severe eGFR impairment was infrequent regardless of ART regimen and was generally related to intercurrent disease. Differences between ART regimens with respect to changes in eGFR through 96 weeks were of marginal clinical relevance, but investigating longer-term nephrotoxicity remains important.

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