There are limited data regarding the relative merits of biomarkers as predictors of mortality or time to initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
We evaluated the usefulness of the CD4 cell count, CD4 cell percentage (CD4%), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) load, total lymphocyte count (TLC), body mass index (BMI), and hemoglobin measured at 32 weeks’ gestation as predictors of mortality in a cohort of HIV-1–infected women in Nairobi, Kenya. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) were determined for each biomarker separately, as well as for the CD4 cell count and the HIV-1 load combined.
Among 489 women with 10,150 person-months of follow-up, mortality rates at 1 and 2 years postpartum were 2.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7%–3.4%) and 5.5% (95% CI, 3.0%–8.0%), respectively. CD4 cell count and CD4% had the highest AUC value (>0.9). BMI, TLC, and hemoglobin were each associated with but poorly predictive of mortality (PPV, <7%). The HIV-1 load did not predict mortality beyond the CD4 cell count.
The CD4 cell count and CD4% measured during pregnancy were both useful predictors of mortality among pregnant women. TLC, BMI, and hemoglobin had a limited predictive value, and the HIV-1 load did not predict mortality any better than did the CD4 cell count alone.