Clinical predictors of low CD4 count among HIV-infected pulmonary tuberculosis clients: A health facility-based survey

  • C Nzou
  • RA Kambarami
  • FE Onyango
  • CE Ndhlovu
  • V Chikwasha


Objectives. The study aimed to determine the clinical and laboratory predictors of a low CD4+ cell count (<200 cells/μl) in HIV-infected patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Design and setting. A prospective cohort study on HIV-positive patients with smear-positive PTB attending an outpatient clinic in Zimbabwe. Participants. Consecutively consenting HIV-positive adults, aged 18 years and over, who had positive sputum smears for acid-fast bacilli and were naïve to both antituberculosis drugs and ART. Interventions. Baseline CD4+ cell count, full blood count, functional status using the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score and body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) were determined for all participants. Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses of the data were done. Results. Of the 97 participants recruited, 59 (61%) were females. The overall mean age was 34 years (standard deviation (SD) 8). The median CD4+ cell count was 104.5 cells/μl (intraquartile range (IQR) 41 - 213 cells/μl). Patients with pleuritic chest pain were less likely to have a low CD4+ cell count than patients who did not (odds ratio (OR) 0.2; confidence interval (CI) 0.03 - 0.8). The following were statistically significant predictors of a CD4+ cell count of <200 cells/ μl: BMI <18 kg/m2 (OR 3.8; CI 1.2 - 12), KPS <54.4 (OR 3; CI 1.1 - 12) and haemoglobin concentration <8 g/dl (OR 13; CI 1.8 - 533). Conclusions. HIV-infected sputum-positive PTB patients presenting with a BMI <18, KPS <54.4% and haemoglobin concentration <8 g/dl should have early initiation of ART since they are more likely to have a low CD4+ cell count, whereas those presenting with pleuritic pain are less likely to have a low CD4+ cell count.

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eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135