Background: Shortening the interval between antituberculosis treatment onset and initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces mortality in severely immunocompromised human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with tuberculosis. A better understanding of causes and determinants of death may lead to new strategies to further enhance survival.
Methods: We assessed mortality rates, causes of death, and factors of mortality in Cambodian HIV-infected adults with CD4 count ≤200 cells/µL and tuberculosis, randomized to initiate ART either 2 weeks (early ART) or 8 weeks (late ART) after tuberculosis treatment onset in the CAMELIA clinical trial.
Results: Six hundred sixty-one patients enrolled contributed to 1366.1 person-years of follow-up; 149 (22.5%) died. There were 8.3 deaths per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.4-10.7) in the early-ART group and 13.8 deaths per 100 person-years (95% CI, 11.2-16.9) in the late-ART group (P = .002). Tuberculosis was the primary cause of death (28%), followed by other HIV-associated conditions (19%). Factors independently associated with mortality in the first 26 weeks were the age, body mass index, hemoglobin, interrupted or ineffective tuberculosis treatment before identification of drug resistance, disseminated tuberculosis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial disease. After 50 weeks in the trial, the most frequent causes of death were non-HIV related or tuberculosis related, including drug toxicity; factors associated with mortality were late ART, loss to follow-up, and absence of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis.
Conclusions: Despite ART introduction, mortality remained high, with tuberculosis as the leading cause of death. Reducing tuberculosis-related mortality remains a challenge in resource-limited settings and requires innovative strategies. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00226434.
Keywords: HIV; adult; cause of death; mortality; tuberculosis.
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