The association between CD4+ lymphocyte count and measures of body composition in HIV-infected men

Jan Mary Hale Risser, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Purpose. This project was designed to describe the association between wasting and CD4 cell counts in HIV-infected men in order to better understand the role of wasting in progression of HIV infection. Methods. Baseline and prevalence data were collected from a cross-sectional survey of 278 HIV-infected men seen at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center Special Medicine Clinic, from June 1, 1991 to January 1, 1994. A follow-up study was conducted among those at risk, to investigate the incidence of wasting and the association between wasting and low CD4 cell counts. Wasting was described by four methods. Z-scores for age-, sex-, and height-adjusted weight; sex-, and age-adjusted mid-arm muscle circumference (MAMC); and fat-free mass; and the ratio of extra-cellular mass (ECM) to body-cell mass (BCM) $>$ 1.20. FFM, ECM, and BCM were estimated from bioelectrical impedance analysis. MAMC was calculated from triceps skinfold and mid-arm circumference. The relationship between wasting and covariates was examined with logistic regression in the cross-sectional study, and with Poisson regression in the follow-up study. The association between death and wasting was examined with Cox's regression. Results. The prevalence of wasting ranged from 5% (weight and ECM:BCM) to almost 14% (MAMC and FFM) among the 278 men examined. The odds of wasting, associated with baseline CD4 cell count $<$200, was significant for each method but weight, and ranged from 4.6 to 12.7. Use of antiviral therapy was significantly protective of MAMC, FFM and ECM:BCM (OR $\approx$ 0.2), whereas the need for antibacterial therapy was a risk (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1-8.7). The average incidence of wasting ranged from 4 to 16 per 100 person-years among the approximately 145 men followed for 160 person-years. Low CD4 cell count seemed to increase the risk of wasting, but statistical significance was not reached. The effect of the small sample size on the power to detect a significant association should be considered. Wasting, by MAMC and FFM, was significantly associated with death, after adjusting for baseline serum albumin concentration and CD4 cell count. Conclusions. Wasting by MAMC and FFM were strongly associated with baseline CD4 cell counts in both the prevalence and incidence study and strong predictors of death. Of the two methods, MAMC is convenient, has available reference population data, may be the most appropriate for assessing the nutritional status of HIV-infected men.

Subject Area

Surgery|Nutrition|Public health

Recommended Citation

Risser, Jan Mary Hale, "The association between CD4+ lymphocyte count and measures of body composition in HIV-infected men" (1994). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9528254.