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J Nutr Metab. 2013;2013:545439. doi: 10.1155/2013/545439. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Serum Phosphate Predicts Early Mortality among Underweight Adults Starting ART in Zambia: A Novel Context for Refeeding Syndrome?

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1
Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Zambia, Plot 1275 Lubuto Road, P.O. Box 34681, Lusaka 10101, Zambia ; Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, A2200-MCN, 1161 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232-2582, USA ; Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, 2525 West End Avenue, Suite 750, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Low body mass index (BMI) at antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation is associated with early mortality, but the etiology is not well understood. We hypothesized that low pretreatment serum phosphate, a critical cellular metabolism intermediate primarily stored in skeletal muscle, may predict mortality within the first 12 weeks of ART.

METHODS:

We prospectively studied 352 HIV-infected adults initiating ART in Lusaka, Zambia to estimate the odds of death for each 0.1 mmol/L decrease in baseline phosphate after adjusting for established predictors of mortality.

RESULTS:

The distribution of phosphate values was similar across BMI categories (median value 1.2 mmol/L). Among the 145 participants with BMI <18.5 kg/m(2), 28 (19%) died within 12 weeks. Lower pretreatment serum phosphate was associated with increased mortality (odds ratio (OR) 1.24 per 0.1 mmol/L decrement, 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.47; P = 0.01) after adjusting for sex, age, and CD4(+) lymphocyte count. A similar relationship was not observed among participants with BMI ≥18.5 kg/m(2) (OR 0.96, 95% CI: 0.76 to 1.21; P = 0.74).

CONCLUSIONS:

The association of low pretreatment serum phosphate level and early ART mortality among undernourished individuals may represent a variant of the refeeding syndrome. Further studies of cellular metabolism in this population are needed.

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