Cause-specific mortality and the contribution of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in the first 3 years after antiretroviral therapy initiation in an urban African cohort

Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Sep 15;49(6):965-72. doi: 10.1086/605500.


Background: Although many studies have reported high early mortality among patients enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs in sub-Saharan Africa-particularly among those individuals with advanced immunodeficiency-few studies have reported the most common causes of these early deaths.

Methods: We determined cause-specific mortality and the contribution of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) in a well-characterized patient cohort in Kampala, Uganda, over a 36-month period of ART.

Results: In a cohort of patients who initiated antiretroviral therapy in Uganda, we observed a high early mortality rate among patients with advanced disease. The most common causes of death were tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis. The contribution of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome to mortality was limited.

Conclusions: We show a significant early mortality in our ART cohort in resource-limited settings that is driven by advanced human immunodeficiency virus disease and characterized by low CD4 cell counts. In our experience, the contribution of IRIS to this observed early mortality is limited.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / microbiology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome / immunology
  • Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome / microbiology
  • Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome / mortality*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / immunology
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal / mortality
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / mortality
  • Uganda


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents