Total lymphocyte count of 1200 is not a sensitive predictor of CD4 lymphocyte count among patients with HIV disease in Kampala, Uganda

  • Moses R Kamya Makerere University Medical School, Kampala, Uganda; Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa
  • Fred C Semitala Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa
  • Thomas C Quinn Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa; Johns Hopkins University, USA
  • Allan Ronald Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa
  • Denise Nyama-Meya Makerere University Medical School, Kampala, Uganda
  • Harriet Mayanja-Kizza Makerere University Medical School, Kampala, Uganda; Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa
  • Elly T Katabira Makerere University Medical School, Kampala, Uganda; Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa
  • Lisa A Spacek Johns Hopkins University, USA
Keywords: CD4 cell count, total lymphocyte count, clinical algorithm, antiretroviral therapy, resource limited settings

Abstract

Introduction: Total Lymphocyte Count (TLC) has been found to be an inexpensive and useful marker for staging disease, predicting progression to AIDS and death and monitoring response to ART. However, the correlation between TLC and CD4 has not been consistent. Access to HAART is expanding in Kampala, Uganda, yet there are no published data evaluating the utility of TLC as inexpensive surrogate marker of CD4 cell count to help guide therapeutic decisions.

Objective: To evaluate clinical illnesses and total lymphocyte count (TLC) as surrogate markers of the CD4 cell count in HIV infected persons being considered for ART.

Methods: A total of 131 patients were enrolled and evaluated by clinical assessment, TLC and CD4 count. Clinical illnesses and TLC dichotomized at various cut-point values were used to determine the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) for the diagnosis of CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 among 100 participants fulfilling criteria for WHO clinical stage 2 and 3.

Results: A strong correlation was observed between TLC and CD4 (r = 0.73, p<0.0001). For all clinical syndromes, except pulmonary tuberculosis, the positive predictive values (PPV) for a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 were high (>80%) but the negative predictive values (NPV) were low. Using the WHO recommended TLC cut-off of 1200 cells/mm3 to diagnose a CD4 less than 200 cells/mm3, the PPV was 100%, and the NPV was 32%.

Conclusion: Our data showed a good correlation between TLC and CD4 cell count. However, the WHO recommended TLC cut-off of 1200 did not identify the majority of WHO stage 2 and 3 patients with CD4 counts less than 200 cells/mm3. A more rational use of TLC counts is to treat all patients with WHO stage 2 and 3 who have a TLC <1200 and to limit CD4 counts to patients who are symptomatic but have TLC of >1200.

Key Words: CD4 cell count, total lymphocyte count, clinical algorithm, antiretroviral therapy, resource limited settings

African Health Sciences Vol.4(2) 2004: 94-101
Published
2004-11-10
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1680-6905