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METHODS: The aim of this prospective, observational cohort study was to determine the clinical and microbiological features, outcome, and baseline variables predictive of death, in Vietnamese adults with HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis (TBM). 58 patients were admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City and underwent routine clinical and laboratory assessments. Treatment was with standard antituberculous therapy and adjunctive dexamethasone; antiretroviral therapy was not routinely available. Patients were followed up until the end of TB treatment or death. RESULTS: The median symptom duration was 11 days (range 2-90 days), 21.8% had a past history of TB, and 41.4% had severe (grade 3) TBM. The median CD4 count was 32 cells/mm(3). CSF findings were as follows: median leucocyte count 438 x 10(9)cells/l (63% neutrophils), 69% smear positive and 87.9% culture positive. TB drug resistance rates were high (13% mono-resistance 32.6% poly-resistance 8.7% multidrug resistance). 17% patients developed further AIDS-defining illnesses. 67.2% died (median time to death 20 days). Three baseline variables were predictive of death by multivariate analysis: increased TBM grade [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) 1.73, 95% CI 1.08-2.76, p = 0.02], lower serum sodium (AHR 0.93, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.98, p = 0.002) and decreased CSF lymphocyte percentage (AHR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97 to 0.99, p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: HIV-associated TBM is devastating disease with a dismal prognosis. CSF findings included CSF neutrophil predominance, high rates of smear and culture positivity, and high rates of antituberculous drug resistance. Three baseline variables were independently associated with death: increased TBM grade; low serum sodium and decreased CSF lymphocyte percentage.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections, Adult, Antitubercular Agents, Cohort Studies, Drug Therapy, Combination, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Tuberculosis, Meningeal, Vietnam