HealthDay News — The mean age at death increased for patients with HIV infection from 1984 to 2016, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

Sobia Nizami, MD, from the NYU School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of autopsy records and charts to examine trends in the cause of death of HIV-infected patients who underwent autopsy at a major New York City hospital from 1984 to 2016.

The researchers identified 252 autopsies in adult patients with AIDS or HIV infection. On average, 13 autopsies were done per year prior to widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1984 to 1995; the average declined to 4.5 per year post-HAART. In 1984, the fitted mean age at death was 36 years and increased curvilinearly to 45 years in 2016, with a peak of 54 in 2010. From 1992 to 2016, an increase was noted in CD4+ cell counts from 6 to 62. A decrease in the proportion of AIDS-defining opportunistic infections was seen during the study period, while the frequency of nonopportunistic infections increased. There was an increase in the prevalence of atherosclerosis at autopsy, from 21% in 1988 to 1991 to 54% in 2008 to 2011.

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“Autopsies can be a valuable tool in diagnosis of clinical conditions leading to death when studying trends in disease mortality,” the authors write.

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