Prognostic implications of baseline anaemia and changes in haemoglobin concentrations with amphotericin B therapy for cryptococcal meningitis

L. Tugume, Bm Morawski, M. Abassi, Nc Bahr, R. Kiggundu, Hw Nabeta, Kh Hullsiek, K. Taseera, Ak Musubire, C. Schutz, C. Muzoora, Da Williams, Ma Rolfes, G. Meintjes, J. Rhein, Db Meya, Dr Boulware

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18 Scopus citations


Objectives: Anaemia represents a common toxicity with amphotericin B-based induction therapy in HIV-infected persons with cryptococcal meningitis. We sought to examine the impact of amphotericin-related anaemia on survival. Methods: We used data from Ugandan and South African trial participants to characterize the variation of haemoglobin concentrations from diagnosis to 12 weeks post-diagnosis. Anaemia severity was classified based on the haemoglobin concentration at cryptococcal meningitis diagnosis, and nadir haemoglobin values during amphotericin induction. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate 2- and 10-week mortality risk. We also estimated 10-week mortality risk among participants with nadir haemoglobin < 8.5 g/dL during amphotericin induction and who survived ≥ 2 weeks post-enrolment. Results: The median haemoglobin concentration at meningitis diagnosis was 11.5 g/dL [interquartile range (IQR) 9.7–13 g/dL; n = 311] with a mean decline of 4.2 g/dL [95% confidence interval (CI) −4.6 to −3.8; P < 0.001; n = 148] from diagnosis to nadir value among participants with baseline haemoglobin ≥ 8.5 g/dL. The median haemoglobin concentration was 8.1 g/dL (IQR 6.5–9.5 g/dL) at 2 weeks, increasing to 9.4 g/dL (IQR 8.2–10.9 g/dL) by 4 weeks and continuing to increase to 12 weeks. Among participants with haemoglobin < 8.5 g/dL at diagnosis, mortality risk was elevated at 2 weeks [hazard ratio (HR) 2.7; 95% CI 1.5–4.9; P < 0.01] and 10 weeks (HR 1.8; 95% CI 1.1–2.2; P = 0.03), relative to those with haemoglobin ≥ 8.5 g/dL. New-onset anaemia occurring with amphotericin therapy did not have a statistically significant association with 10-week mortality (HR 2.0; 95% CI 0.5–9.1; P = 0.4). Conclusions: Amphotericin induced significant haemoglobin declines, which were mostly transient and did not impact 10-week mortality. Individuals with moderate to life-threatening anaemia at baseline had a higher mortality risk at 2 and 10 weeks post-enrolment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalHIV Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 British HIV Association


  • HIV
  • amphotericin B
  • anaemia
  • cryptococcal meningitis


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