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Six-month gain in weight, height, and CD4 predict subsequent antiretroviral treatment responses in HIV-infected South African children

Yotebieng, Marcela,b; Van Rie, Anneliesa; Moultrie, Harryb; Meyers, Tammya,b

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e328332d5ca
Epidemiology and Social

Objectives: Construct percentile curves for 6-month gain in weight, height, CD4 cell count, and CD4 percentage (CD4%) in children initiating ART, and to assess the association between lower percentiles and subsequent ART responses.

Design: Cohort of 1394 HIV-infected children initiating ART between April 2004 and March 2008, Johannesburg, South Africa

Methods: The generalized additive model for location, scale, and shape was used to construct percentile curves for 6-month gain in weight, height, CD4 cell count, and CD4%. Cox proportional models were used to assess the association between lower percentiles of each distribution and death, virological suppression, and treatment failure between 6 to 36 months post-ART initiation.

Results: Lower percentiles for gain in weight, CD4, and CD4% count after 6 months of ART, but not height, were associated with poor subsequent treatment outcomes independent of baseline characteristics, with increasing strength of association as percentiles decreased. Age-specific 6-month post-ART weight gain in our cohort was substantially higher compared with 6-month weight gain in non-HIV-infected American children of the Fels Institute cohort and the attained weight-for-age at 6 months post-ART plotted on WHO weight-for-age growth charts were not associated with subsequent treatment outcomes.

Conclusion: Gain in CD4% in the first 6 months of ART was the best predictor of poor subsequent ART outcomes. In areas with limited access to CD4%, weight gain post-ART using our newly developed reference distributions for HIV-infected children on ART is a good alternative to CD4%, and clearly superior to the commonly used ‘Road-to-Health’ weight-for-age charts.

aDepartment of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

bWits ECHO, Harriet Shezi Children's Clinic, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Received 27 May, 2009

Revised 2 September, 2009

Accepted 9 September, 2009

Correspondence to Marcel Yotebieng, MD, MPH, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. E-mail: yotebieng@unc.edu

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.