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J Intensive Care Med. 2011 May-Jun;26(3):151-64. doi: 10.1177/0885066610387996. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

The changing epidemiology of HIV-infected patients in the intensive care unit.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Section, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


With the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV has become a chronic disease. As HIV-infected patients are aging, they are at increased risk for comorbid diseases. These non-AIDS related diseases account for a growing proportion of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in HIV-infected patients in recent studies. HIV-infected patients still present to the ICU with HIV-related conditions such as Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), but these conditions are becoming less common. Respiratory failure remains the most common indication for ICU admission. Immune reconstitution inflammatory response syndrome and toxicities related to HAART may also result in ICU admission. While ICU survival has improved since the earliest era of the HIV epidemic, hospital mortality for HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU remains around 30%. Risk factors for ICU mortality include poor functional status, weight loss, more than one year between HIV diagnosis and ICU admission, lower serum albumin, higher severity of illness, need for mechanical ventilation, and respiratory failure-particularly if due to PCP and accompanied by pneumothorax. The impact of HAART on ICU outcomes is unclear. HAART administration in the ICU can be challenging due to limited delivery routes, concern for viral resistance and medication toxicities. There are no data to determine the safety or efficacy of HAART initiation in the ICU. Future studies are needed to address the role of age, associated comorbidities and impact of HAART on outcomes of HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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