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AIDS. 2018 Feb 20;32(4):487-493. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001701.

Markers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are associated with mortality in people living with HIV.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Medicine, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, Yale University, West Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Medicine, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York City, New York.
Department of Medicine, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California.
Infectious Diseases Section, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
Department of Medicine, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Aging people living with HIV (PLWH) face an increased burden of comorbidities, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The impact of COPD on mortality in HIV remains unclear. We examined associations between markers of COPD and mortality among PLWH and uninfected study participants.


Longitudinal analysis of the Examinations of HIV-Associated Lung Emphysema (EXHALE) cohort study.


EXHALE includes 196 PLWH and 165 uninfected smoking-matched study participants who underwent pulmonary function testing and computed tomography (CT) to define COPD and were followed. We determined associations between markers of COPD with mortality using multivariable Cox regression models, adjusted for smoking and the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Index, a validated predictor of mortality in HIV.


Median follow-up time was 6.9 years; the mortality rate was 2.7/100 person-years among PLWH and 1.7/100 person-years among uninfected study participants (P = 0.11). The VACS Index was associated with mortality in both PLWH and uninfected study participants. In multivariable models, pulmonary function and CT characteristics defining COPD were associated with mortality in PLWH: those with airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 s/ forced vital capacity <0.7) had 3.1 times the risk of death [hazard ratio 3.1 (95% confidence interval 1.4-7.1)], compared with those without; those with emphysema (>10% burden) had 2.4 times the risk of death [hazard ratio 2.4 (95% confidence interval 1.1-5.5)] compared with those with ≤ 10% emphysema. In uninfected subjects, pulmonary variables were not significantly associated with mortality, which may reflect fewer deaths limiting power.


Markers of COPD were associated with greater mortality in PWLH, independent of the VACS Index. COPD is likely an important contributor to mortality in contemporary PLWH.

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