Objectives: To compare the clinical, radiological and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) findings, at hospital admission, among adult patients with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) with or without HIV infection and to identify the factors that predict adverse outcome at six months.
Methods: A total of 82 adult patients with TBM were included (40 HIV-positive and 42 HIV-negative). Several clinical (duration of illness, Glasgow Coma Scale score, presence of high temperature, headache, cranial nerve or sphincter abnormality, seizures and endocrine dysfunction), radiological (presence of hydrocephalus, cerebral infarction and oedema, meningeal enhancement, granuloma) and cerebrospinal fluid parameters (glucose, protein, lactate, lymphocytes, neutrophils and adenosine deaminase values) were recorded along with CD4 count in the peripheral blood. Statistical analysis was performed using the chi-square test. Individual variables were evaluated as prognostic factors for adverse outcome in both groups by calculating the relative risk of association for each.
Results: Temperature more than 38.33°C was more common in the HIV-negative group while seizures, hydrocephalus, cerebral infarction and low CD4 count occurred significantly more commonly in the HIV-positive group. Hydrocephalus had strong association with severe neurological deficit and seizure with death in both the groups.
Conclusion: Several clinical and laboratory features of TBM in patients who are HIV-positive are distinctly different from those without HIV infection; some of these have an association with the probability of adverse outcome.