Objective: To evaluate the prevalence, outcome and possible risk factors for hyperlactataemia and lactic acidosis in HIV-positive persons receiving antiretroviral therapy.
Methods: Cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a prospectively collected clinical database. Associations with antiretroviral regimen, clinical and laboratory parameters were assessed using univariate and multivariate Cox's proportional hazards model.
Results: Patients naive to therapy and patients on current therapy for a minimum of 4 months were assessed. Median lactate was 1.1 mol/l in 253 untreated individuals and 1.4 mmol/l in 1239 patients stable on therapy for at least 4 months. At least two on-therapy samples were available for 750 of the 1239 individuals, taken a median 92 days apart. Lactate measurement showed a low positive predictive value of 38.9% but a high negative predictive value (98%) for normal values. Lactate was elevated > or = 2.4 mmol/l in 102 individuals on at least one occasion. In the multivariate Cox's proportional hazards model, no demographic characteristics were associated with hyperlactataemia. Didanosine-containing regimens doubled the relative hazard of hyperlactataemia compared with those sparing didanosine. Abacavir-containing regimens reduced the hazard of hyperlactataemia. Choice of thymidine analogue did not influence risk. Hyperlactataemia was associated with acid-base disturbance. Use of didanosine and female sex were over-represented amongst nine patients with severe hyperlactataemia (> 5 mmol/l) or lactic acidosis.
Conclusions: Screening of lactate is of limited use in asymptomatic individuals on antiretroviral therapy. Raised lactate represents part of a spectrum of lactate and acid-base disturbance that infrequently includes lactic acidosis. Didanosine appears associated with an increased risk of hyperlactataemia.