Chronic lung disease in HIV-infected children established on antiretroviral therapy.
Rylance J., Mchugh G., Metcalfe J., Mujuru H., Nathoo K., Wilmore S., Rowland-Jones S., Majonga E., Kranzer K., Ferrand RA.
OBJECTIVE: Respiratory disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected children. Despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), children suffer chronic symptoms. We investigated symptom prevalence, lung function and exercise capacity among older children established on ART and an age-matched HIV-uninfected group. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study in Zimbabwe of HIV-infected children aged 6-16 years receiving ART for over 6 months and HIV-uninfected children attending primary health clinics from the same area. METHODS: Standardized questionnaire, spirometry, incremental shuttle walk testing, CD4 cell count, HIV viral load and sputum culture for tuberculosis were performed. RESULTS: A total of 202 HIV-infected and 150 uninfected participants (median age 11.1 years in each group) were recruited. Median age at HIV diagnosis and ART initiation was 5.5 (interquartile range 2.8-7.5) and 6.1 (interquartile range 3.6-8.4) years, respectively. Median CD4 cell count was 726 cells/μl, and 79% had HIV viral load less than 400 copies/ml. Chronic respiratory symptoms were rare in HIV-uninfected children [n = 1 (0.7%)], but common in HIV-infected participants [51 (25%)], especially cough [30 (15%)] and dyspnoea [30 (15%)]. HIV-infected participants were more commonly previously treated for tuberculosis [76 (38%) vs 1 (0.7%), P < 0.001], had lower exercise capacity (mean incremental shuttle walk testing distance 771 vs 889 m, respectively, P < 0.001) and more frequently abnormal spirometry [43 (24.3%) vs 15 (11.5%), P = 0.003] compared with HIV-uninfected participants. HIV diagnosis at an older age was associated with lung function abnormality (P = 0.025). No participant tested positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. CONCLUSION: In children, despite ART, HIV is associated with significant respiratory symptoms and functional impairment. Understanding pathogenesis is key, as new treatment strategies are urgently required.