Background: HIV has fuelled the TB epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Mortality in patients co-infected with TB and HIV is high. Managing factors influencing mortality in TB patients might help reducing it. This study investigates factors associated with mortality including patients' HIV sero-status, CD4 cell count, laboratory, nutritional and demographic characteristics in AFB smear positive pulmonary TB patients.
Methods: We studied 887 sputum smear positive PTB patients, between 18 and 65 years of age receiving standard 8 months anti-TB treatment. Demographic, anthropometric and laboratory data including HIV, CD4 and other tests were collected at baseline and at regular intervals. Patients were followed for a median period of 2.5 years.
Results: Of the 887 participants, 155 (17.5%) died, of whom 90.3% (140/155) were HIV-infected, a fatality of 29.7% (140/471) compared to 3.6% (15/416) among HIV-uninfected. HIV infection, age, low Karnofsky score, CD4 cell counts and hemoglobin, high viral load, and oral thrush were significantly associated with high mortality in all patients.
Conclusion: Mortality among HIV-infected TB patients is high despite the use of effective anti-TB therapy. Most deaths occur after successful completion of therapy, an indication that patients die from causes other than TB. HIV infection is the strongest independent predictor of mortality in this cohort.