Management of HIV-infected patients in the intensive care unit

Academic Article


  • The widespread use of combination antiretroviral therapies (cART) has converted the prognosis of HIV infection from a rapidly progressive and ultimately fatal disease to a chronic condition with limited impact on life expectancy. Yet, HIV-infected patients remain at high risk for critical illness due to the occurrence of severe opportunistic infections in those with advanced immunosuppression (i.e., inaugural admissions or limited access to cART), a pronounced susceptibility to bacterial sepsis and tuberculosis at every stage of HIV infection, and a rising prevalence of underlying comorbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, atherosclerosis or non-AIDS-defining neoplasms in cART-treated patients aging with controlled viral replication. Several patterns of intensive care have markedly evolved in this patient population over the late cART era, including a steady decline in AIDS-related admissions, an opposite trend in admissions for exacerbated comorbidities, the emergence of additional drivers of immunosuppression (e.g., anti-neoplastic chemotherapy or solid organ transplantation), the management of cART in the acute phase of critical illness, and a dramatic progress in short-term survival that mainly results from general advances in intensive care practices. Besides, there is a lack of data regarding other features of ICU and post-ICU care in these patients, especially on the impact of sociological factors on clinical presentation and prognosis, the optimal timing of cART introduction in AIDS-related admissions, determinants of end-of-life decisions, long-term survival, and functional outcomes. In this narrative review, we sought to depict the current evidence regarding the management of HIV-infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Barbier F; Mer M; Szychowiak P; Miller RF; Mariotte É; Galicier L; Bouadma L; Tattevin P; Azoulay É
  • Start Page

  • 329
  • End Page

  • 342
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 2