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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2004 Dec 1;37 Suppl 5:S280-3.

Challenges to diagnosis of HIV-associated wasting.

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Gastrointestinal Division, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY 10025, USA.


There is a wide variability in the clinical presentation of the protein energy malnutrition often characterized as wasting in patients infected with HIV. Moreover, the clinical presentation has evolved over time. Initially, protein energy malnutrition was characterized by profound weight loss and depletion of body cell mass (BCM). Recently, unrelated concurrent metabolic abnormalities, such as lipodystrophy, may complicate the diagnosis of HIV wasting. Although measures of BCM are relatively accurate for the diagnosis of HIV wasting, the optimal tools for assessing BCM are not necessarily available to the clinician. From the practical standpoint, HIV wasting may be a self-evident diagnosis in advanced stages, but effective interpretation of the early signs of HIV wasting requires familiarity with other complications included in the differential diagnosis.

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