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An Objective Lipodystrophy Severity Grading Scale Derived From the Lipodystrophy Case Definition Score

Carr Andrew; Law, Matthew; on behalf of the HIV Lipodystrophy Case Definition Study Group
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: August 15th, 2003

HIV lipodystrophy can be objectively diagnosed using a score derived from the 10 parameters in the HIV lipodystrophy case definition (LDCD). Lipodystrophy severity remains subjectively determined by physical examination and patient assessment. Regional dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and single-slice abdominal computed tomography (CT) scanning are objective but are gender-dependent body composition measures. The LDCD score may provide a means of generating an objective and lipodystrophy grading/severity scale applicable to both men and women. Total and regional clinical lipodystrophy severity scores (generated using the HIV Outpatient Study [HOPS] scale: nil (0), mild (1), moderate (2), and severe (3) lipoatrophy or fat accumulation in 8 body regions) were correlated with objective measures of LD (LDCD score, DEXA, abdominal CT) and metabolic (lipid, glycemic, acidbase) parameters known to correlate significantly with lipodystrophy severity. Analysis was based on 417 lipodystrophic adults and 371 controls recruited to the HIV LDCD study. Correlation coefficients were used to compare physician and patient assessments (rPhysician, rPatient) with objective LD measures and metabolic parameters. The strongest objective correlate of total clinical lipodystrophy severity was the LDCD score (rPhysician = 0.641 [95% CI, 0.584-0.698]; rPatient = 0.620 [95% CI, 0.561-0.678]), whereas the strongest imaging correlate (trunk:limb fat ratio on DEXA) was significantly lower (rPhysician = 0.483 [95% CI, 0.420-0.546]; rPatient = 0.475 [95% CI, 0.412-0.538]; P < 0.001). The LDCD score also yielded significantly greater correlations with 7 of the 8 metabolic parameters than did clinical lipodystrophy severity scores. Based on quartiles of physician-rated severity, the LDCD scores were categorized to allow for rating of lipodystrophy as absent (LDCD score < 0), grade 1 (0-9.9), grade 2 (10-14.9), grade 3 (15-22.9), and grade 4 (≥23). In conclusion, the LDCD score is the best objective measure of lipodystrophy severity and, in contrast to DEXA and CT, it is also gender independent. Subjective assessment of lipodystrophy severity could possibly be abandoned in cross-sectional studies. The LDCD score and its derived lipodystrophy grading scale merit prospective evaluation.

Sponsored in equal parts by an unrestricted grant from Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont, Glaxo-SmithKline, Merck, Pfizer-Agouron, Pharmacia-Upjohn, and Roche. The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Andrew Carr, HIV, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Clinical Services Unit, St. Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, 2010 Australia. E-mail:

Manuscript received March 5, 2003; accepted May 22, 2003.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.