Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Prevalence of hematological abnormalities and malnutrition in HIV-infected under five children in Enugu

BU Ezeonwu, AN Ikefuna, T Oguonu, HU Okafor


Background: Hematological abnormalities such as anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia occur in children infected by the human  immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These abnormalities are due to myelosuppression caused by the HIV and contribute to the morbidity and mortality of HIV.infected children. Malnutrition is prominent in HIV-infected
children due to associated conditions such as oropharyngeal candidiasis, diarrhea, and cytokine production which resultin poor intake, nutrient loss, and increased metabolic rate, respectively.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of hematological abnormalities (using the World Health Organization (WHO) case definitions) and malnutrition in HIV-infected children receiving care at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
Materials and Methods: The hematological and anthropometric indices of HIV.infected children between 18 and 59 months were assessed. Their hemoglobin level, neutrophil, and platelet counts were the hematological profiles evaluated using the WHO case definitions in HIV clinical staging. The weight-for-height z-score index was used to assess the nutritional status of subjects using the WHO reference ranges. The t-test, Chi-square, and Pearson correlation coefficient were used for statistical analysis.
Results: There were 67 HIV positive children: 34 males and 33 females, aged 18-59 months. The mean hematological levels of subjects were hemoglobin (Hb) 10.4 ± 1.2 g/dl, neutrophil count 3,031 ± 1,039 cells/mm3, platelets count 294 ± 78 ~ 109/L. Two children (3.0%) had anemia (hemoglobin < 8 gm/dl) and were severely immunosuppressed,
on highly active antiretroviral therapy treatment and had advanced HIV disease (clinical stage 3). Children who were malnourished were 15 (22.4%).
Conclusion: Hematological abnormalities and malnutrition occur in HIV positive children.

Key words: Haematological, malnutrition, anaemia, children
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