Predictors of impaired pulmonary function in people living with HIV in an urban African setting

South Afr J HIV Med. 2021 Aug 17;22(1):1252. doi: 10.4102/sajhivmed.v22i1.1252. eCollection 2021.


Background: Studies have associated HIV with an increased risk of obstructive lung disease (OLD).

Objectives: We aimed to identify the predictive factors for impaired lung function in an urban, African, HIV-positive population.

Method: A cross-sectional study was performed in Johannesburg, South Africa, from July 2016 to November 2017. A questionnaire was administered and pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry conducted. The predictors investigated included age, sex, antiretroviral treatment (ART) duration, body mass index, history of tuberculosis (TB) or pneumonia, occupational exposure, environmental exposure, smoking and symptoms of OLD (cough, wheeze, mucus and dyspnoea). Impaired lung function was defined as a forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) ratio of < 0.70, or below the 20th percentile of normal.

Results: The 98 ART-naïve participants (mean age = 34.0, standard deviation [s.d.] = 8.2), 85 participants on first-line ART (mean age = 36.9, s.d. = 6.6) and 189 participants on second-line ART (mean age = 43.5, s.d. = 7.9) were predominantly female (65.6%). Of the participants, 64 (17.2%) had impaired lung function and 308 had normal lung function. Linear regression identified age (β = -0.003, P < 0.01), male sex (β = -0.016, P = 0.03) and history of TB or pneumonia (β = -0.024, P < 0.01) as independent predictors of a lower FEV1/FVC ratio. Following logistic regression, only a history of TB or pneumonia (odds ratio = 2.58, 95% confidence interval = 1.47-4.52) was significantly related to impaired lung function (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.64).

Conclusion: Our data show that a history of TB or pneumonia predicts impaired lung function. In order to improve timely access to spirometry, clinicians should be alert to the possibility of impaired lung function in people with a history of TB or pneumonia.

Keywords: COPD; HIV; asthma; obstructive lung disease; predictors; sub-Saharan Africa.