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Characteristics and outcomes of HIV-infected patients in the ICU: impact of the highly active antiretroviral treatment era

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To examine whether the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has changed the rate of admission, the clinical spectrum, and the mortality of HIV-infected ICU patients.


Observational study.


Infectious diseases ICU in a teaching hospital, Paris, France.


All HIV-infected patients admitted during a pre-HAART era (1995–1996; n=189) and a HAART era (1998–2000; n=236).



Measurements and results

At the HAART era, 79% of patients had derived no or little benefit from the availability of HAART at ICU admission: 44% had no history of antiretroviral (ARV) medications and 35% had failed to respond to ARV. As compared with the pre-HAART era, the rate of hospitalized HIV-infected patients requiring the ICU stay increased (HAART, 5.9% vs pre-HAART, 4.4%; p=0.004). The admission was more likely to occur through the emergency room (45 vs 29%, p=0.0004), and the patients to be foreigners (38.1 vs 28.6%; p=0.04). After adjustment for significant prognostic covariates (AIDS-related tumors at admission, CD4 count <50/mm3, poor functional status (Knaus score C or D), SAPSII, and need for mechanical ventilation), ICU survival was unchanged (adjusted OR=0.613, 95% CI=0.312–1.206), but 3-month survival was significantly improved (adjusted OR=0.57; 95% CI=0.32–0.99; p=0.045).


The number of HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU remained high in the HAART era. Underutilization of HAART and limited access to health care are possible explanations. The ICU mortality has remained unchanged, but 3-month mortality has decreased.

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Correspondence to Jean-François Timsit.

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Vincent, B., Timsit, J., Auburtin, M. et al. Characteristics and outcomes of HIV-infected patients in the ICU: impact of the highly active antiretroviral treatment era. Intensive Care Med 30, 859–866 (2004).

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  • ICU mortality
  • Post-ICU mortality
  • AIDS