PloS one 2016 09 0911(9) e0162704 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0162704
AIDS-related mortality has changed dramatically with the onset of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which has even allowed compensated HIV-infected patients to withdraw from secondary therapy directed against opportunistic pathogens. However, in recently autopsied HIV-infected patients, we observed that associations with a broad spectrum of pathogens remain, although detailed analyses are lacking. Therefore, we focused on the possible frequency and spectrum shifts in pathogens associated with autopsied HIV-infected patients.
We hypothesized that the pathogens frequency and spectrum changes found in HIV-infected patients examined postmortem did not recapitulate the changes found previously in HIV-infected patients examined antemortem in both the pre- and post-HAART eras. Because this is the first comprehensive study originating from Central and Eastern Europe, we also compared our data with those obtained in the West and Southwest Europe, USA and Latin America.
We performed autopsies on 124 HIV-infected patients who died from AIDS or other co-morbidities in the Czech Republic between 1985 and 2014. The pathological findings were retrieved from the full postmortem examinations and autopsy records.
We collected a total of 502 host-pathogen records covering 82 pathogen species, a spectrum that did not change according to patients’ therapy or since the onset of the epidemics, which can probably be explained by the fact that even recently deceased patients were usually decompensated (in 95% of the cases, the last available CD4+ cell count was falling below 200 cells*μl-1) regardless of the treatment they received. The newly identified pathogen taxa in HIV-infected patients included Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Aerococcus viridans and Escherichia hermannii. We observed a very limited overlap in both the spectra and frequencies of the pathogen species found postmortem in HIV-infected patients in Europe, the USA and Latin America.
The shifts documented previously in compensated HIV-infected patients examined antemortem in the post-HAART era are not recapitulated in mostly decompensated HIV-infected patients examined postmortem.