Trends in hospital deaths among human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients during the antiretroviral therapy era, 1995 to 2011

J Hosp Med. 2015 Sep;10(9):608-14. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2409. Epub 2015 Jun 30.


Objective: Mortality in hospitalized human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients is not well described. We sought to characterize in-hospital deaths among HIV-infected patients in the antiretroviral (ART) era and identify factors associated with mortality.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of hospitalized HIV-infected patients who died from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2011 at an urban teaching hospital. We evaluated trends in early and late ART use and deaths due to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and non-AIDS, and identified clinical and demographic correlates of non-AIDS deaths.

Results: In-hospital deaths declined significantly from 1995 to 2011 (P < 0.0001); those attributable to non-AIDS increased (43% to 70.5%, P < 0.0001). Non-AIDS deaths were most commonly caused by non-AIDS infection (20.3%), cardiovascular (11.3%) and liver disease (8.5%), and non-AIDS malignancy (7.8%). Patients with non-AIDS compared to AIDS-related deaths were older (median age 48 vs 40 years, P < 0.0001), more likely to be on ART (74.1% vs 55.8%, P = 0.0001), less likely to have a CD4 count of <200 cells/mm(3) (47.2% vs 97.1%, P < 0.0001), and more likely to have an HIV viral load of ≤400 copies/mL (38.1% vs 4.1%, P < 0.0001). Non-AIDS deaths were associated with 4.5 and 4.2 times greater likelihood of comorbid underlying liver and cardiovascular disease, respectively.

Conclusions: Non-AIDS deaths increased significantly during the ART era and are now the most common cause of in-hospital deaths; non-AIDS infection, cardiovascular and liver disease, and malignancies were major contributors to mortality. Higher CD4 cell count, liver, and cardiovascular comorbidities were most strongly associated with non-AIDS deaths. Interventions targeting non-AIDS-associated conditions are needed to reduce inpatient mortality among HIV-infected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / mortality*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infections / mortality
  • Liver Diseases / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents