Objective: The causes of persistent lung disease (PLD) and chronic lung disease (CLD) are unknown in HIV-infected children in developing countries. We describe the causes and course of PLD and CLD in HIV-infected and uninfected children.
Method: Of 194 children with lung disease persisting for at least 1 month who were seen at the paediatric respiratory clinic over a 2-year period, 42 underwent invasive investigations after failed initial management over 3 months. PLD was defined as the presence of clinical and radiological features of lung disease for more than 1 month, and CLD as these features for more than 3 months.
Results: One hundred and thirty-eight (71%) of the 194 children with PLD were HIV-infected, 52 (27%) were not infected and four (2%) were of undetermined HIV status. Forty-eight per cent of the HIV-infected children and 52% of the HIV-uninfected children responded to initial treatment over 3 months; the presumptive diagnoses in these were tuberculosis, interstitial pneumonitis, bronchiectasis and post-ventilation lung syndrome. Of the 28 HIV-infected children with CLD who underwent invasive investigations 16 (57%) had lymphoid interstitial pneumonitis, eight (29%) had tuberculosis and four (14%) had non-specific interstitial pneumonitis. Of the 14 HIV-uninfected children with CLD who had invasive testing there were four cases (29%) each of tuberculosis and interstitial pneumonitis, three (22%) cases of bronchiectasis and one case of each of extrinsic allergic alveolitis, crytogenic fibrosing alveolitis and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Conclusion: This is the first set of data on the causes of CLD in HIV-infected children in a developing country. Every effort should be made to identify the infectious agent, whether M. tuberculosis or a secondary bacterial infection in LIP, in order to treat most appropriately these children with lung disease.