Causes of death and factors associated with early mortality of HIV-infected adults admitted to Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital

  • Adriana Saavedra
  • Nia Campinha-Bacote
  • Maurice Hajjar
  • Ernest Kenu
  • Fizza Syeda Gillani
  • Adjoa Obo-Akwa
  • Margaret Lartey
  • Awewura Kwara
Keywords: Cause of Death, HIV/AIDS, HAART, Ghana, Tuberculosis


Introduction: This study sought to identify common causes of death as well as the factors associated with the high inpatient mortality rate of HIV-infected patients at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH).

Methods: The retrospective study reviewed the medical records of 547 HIV infected adults aged 18 years or older admitted to the KBTH between the months of January 2012 and October 2013. Using standardized abstraction forms, clinical and demographic data of eligible patients was collected. Data was summarized using descriptive statistics. Demographic and clinical characteristics of patients who died within 7 days (early) and after (late) admission were compared using Rank Sum tests or Chi-square tests.

Results: Of 547 eligible patients during the period, 222 (40.6%) died during hospitalization, with 124 (55.9%) of them dying within a week of admission. Of the 222 patients who died, 190 (85.6%) were previously known HIV-positive. Yet, 141 (63.5%) of the 222 patients who died had no prior highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The most common admitting diagnoses were anemia (34.2%), cerebral toxoplasmosis (29.3%), and pneumonia (25.7%); the most common causes of death were tuberculosis (34.7%), anemia (30.2%) and cerebral toxoplasmosis (27.5%). Tuberculosis was the only factor significantly associated with early death (P<0.05).

Conclusion: The inpatient mortality rate among HIV infected adults admitted to the KBTH is high. A majority of the patients were not receiving HAART despite known HIV diagnosis. Earlier initiation of HAART may lower the risk of opportunistic infections and HIV mortality rates. Additionally, a high index of suspicion and initiation of empiric treatment for TB may reduce early deaths.

Keywords: Cause of Death, HIV/AIDS, HAART, Ghana, Tuberculosis


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eISSN: 1937-8688