Cytomegalovirus retinitis in Cape Town, South Africa: Clinical management and outcomes

  • S R J Lapere
  • J C Rice


Background. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis is a vision-threatening opportunistic infection that occurs mainly in immunocompromised individuals. Limited data on treatment protocols and management outcomes are available in South Africa (SA).
Objectives. To review the clinical presentation, management and outcomes of patients who were diagnosed and treated for CMV retinitis at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, SA, over a 10-year period, and to compare treatment protocols of 13 public hospitals in SA that treat patients for CMV retinitis.
Methods. A retrospective case review was performed of all patients treated for CMV retinitis at Groote Schuur Hospital between 2003 and 2013. In addition, a questionnaire was sent to 13 public hospitals in SA that treat patients with CMV retinitis.
Results. A total of 141 eyes in 91 patients were polymerase chain reaction-positive for CMV. Of these patients, 98.6% were HIV-positive and 72.5% were on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) at the time of presentation. Patients who were on HAART at presentation had better mean final visual acuity (VA) than those who were not on HAART (p<0.001). There was a significant association between the number of retinal quadrants involved and final visual outcome (p=0.009). Macular (central vision) involvement had a significant adverse effect on visual outcome compared with cases in which the macula was uninvolved (p=0.005).
Conclusions. Independent risk factors that predict final visual outcome include presenting VA, number of retinal quadrants involved, macular involvement and being on HAART at presentation. The diagnosis and management of CMV retinitis differ among treatment centres in SA.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135