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HIV Clin Trials. 2009 Sep-Oct;10(5):314-9. doi: 10.1310/hct1005-314.

Subjective clinical lipoatrophy assessment correlates with DEXA-measured limb fat.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



Although physician- and patient-rated diagnoses of lipoatrophy are currently used as a basis for inclusion into clinical trials, few studies have compared physician- or patient-rated lipoatrophy severity with objective measures. We aim to assess the validity of physician- and patient-rated diagnoses of lipoatrophy by evaluating the correlation between clinical assessments of lipoatrophy and objective fat indices.


This cross-sectional study evaluated the association between clinical lipoatrophy scores and DEXA-measured limb fat (n = 154) and subcutaneous fat mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) levels (n = 80) in HIV+ individuals.


There was a significant negative correlation between DEXA-measured limb fat and lipoatrophy scores generated by either the patients (r = -0.27, p = .008) or the physician (r = -0.48, p < .0001). Also, a significant positive correlation was found between the patient-generated lipoatrophy score and the physician score (r = 0.68, p < .0001). However, there was no correlation between fat mtDNA levels and DEXA-measured limb fat (r = -0.09, p = .42) or between physician- or patient-generated lipoatrophy scores (r = -0.09, p = .43, and r = 0.04, p = .71, respectively).


These results suggest that physician- and patient-rated lipoatrophy scores may be useful surrogates for more expensive measures of lipoatrophy, which could be reserved for research studies.

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