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High HIV Titers Linked to Poorer Outcome After Surgery

Twelve-month mortality, pneumonia more common in HIV-infected patients after common operations

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-infected patients undergoing common surgical procedures are more likely to die within 12 months or to develop pneumonia after the operation than uninfected patients, according to a report in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Michael Horberg, M.D., of Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program-Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues retrospectively compared the outcomes of 332 pairs of matched surgical patients, with and without HIV infection. The subjects had undergone surgeries including appendectomy, hip or knee replacement and mammoplasty, among others.

Ten of the HIV-infected patients died within 12 months compared with two of the uninfected patients. Complications were generally similar between infected and uninfected patients, with the exception of pneumonia. Around 2.4 percent of HIV-positive patients acquired postoperative pneumonia compared with 0.3 percent of uninfected patients.

Overall, the researchers found that those infected patients with a viral load of 30,000 copies/mL were more likely to have complications. "In many cases, HIV serostatus should not be a criterion when determining the need for surgery if patients have adequate viral control," they write.

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