Study objectives: The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has dramatically improved morbidity and mortality in patients with HIV infection. The types of critical illness and their outcomes in HIV-infected patients in recent years is unknown.
Design: We reviewed the medical records of all patients admitted to the Medical ICU of Beth Israel Medical Center, NY, from January to June 2001 and compared their characteristics with patients admitted to the same unit from November 1991 to October 1992.
Results: Of 441 admissions in the first half of 2001, 63 admissions (14%) were in 53 HIV-seropositive patients. There were 65 admissions to the Medical ICU during the 1-year period spanning 1991 to 1992. Compared with the earlier period, the 2001 patients were more likely to be black (52% vs 26%, respectively; p < 0.01) and injection drug users (75% vs 48%, respectively; p < 0.01), and were less likely to be white (11% vs 23%, respectively; difference not significant) and homosexual men (6% vs 26%, respectively; p < 0.01). In 2001, patients were less likely to be admitted with respiratory failure (22% vs 54%, respectively; p < 0.01) and with Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (formerly referred to as Pneumocystis carinii) [3% vs 34%, respectively; p < 0.001], and were more likely to be admitted with non-HIV-related diseases (67% vs 12%, respectively; p < 0.001). Overall survival was much higher in the later period (71% vs 49%, respectively; p < 0.01).
Conclusions: In the era of HAART, more patients with HIV infection were admitted to the ICU over a 12-month period than were 10 years previously. Patients were more likely to be injection drug users and were more likely to be admitted to the ICU because of non-HIV-associated conditions.