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Globally, early initiation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV led to a reduction in the estimated mortality from cryptococcal meningitis (CCM) from 624,700 in 2009 to 181,100 in 2014. However, CCM remains one of the leading causes of mortality among HIV infected patients especially in sub-Saharan Africa where 75% of the deaths occur. Most of the studies evaluating mortality have reported short-term mortality (at or before 10 weeks of therapy). We determined mortality and associated factors among patients treated for CCM in the CryptoDex trial (ISRCTN59144167) in Uganda, and the effect of dexamethasone adjunctive therapy on mortality at two years. We conducted a retrospective cohort study between May 2017 and July 2017 to determine the long term survival (up to 2 years post-randomization) of all patients who had been enrolled into the CryptoDex trial in Uganda. The CryptoDex trial recruited between April 2013 and February 2015. We estimated mortality rates and determined factors affecting mortality at two years using Cox regression. The study followed up 211 participants, 127 (60.2%) of whom were male. Sixteen participants (7.58%) were diagnosed with HIV at the same admission when CCM was diagnosed. By two years following randomization 127 (60%) participants had died, a mortality rate of 67 deaths per 100 person-years. Mortality was associated with Glasgow coma score (GCS) below 15 (adjusted Hazard ratio (aHR) 1.77, 95% CI: 1.02-2.44), p = 0.040; weight (aHR 0.97, per 1 Kg increase; 95% CI: 0.94-0.99), p = 0.003; and presence of convulsions (aHR 2.31, 95% CI: 1.32-4.04), p = 0.004, while dexamethasone use and fungal burden had no effect. Long-term mortality in CCM patients remains high even among patients receiving recommended therapy. Strategies to improve long-term survival in CCM patients are urgently needed, especially targeting those with reduced GCS, low weight, and convulsions.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS neglected tropical diseases

Publication Date





Medical Research Council / Uganda Virus Research Institute & London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit, Entebbe, Uganda.


Humans, AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections, Meningitis, Cryptococcal, Seizures, Coma, Body Weight, Amphotericin B, Fluconazole, Dexamethasone, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Antifungal Agents, Risk Factors, Retrospective Studies, Cohort Studies, Adult, Uganda, Female, Male