BACKGROUND: The prevalence of and mortality from HIV-associated tuberculosis (HIV/TB) in hospital inpatients in Africa remains unacceptably high. Currently, there is a lack of tools to identify those at high risk of early mortality who may benefit from adjunctive interventions. We therefore aimed to develop and validate a simple clinical risk score to predict mortality in high-burden, low-resource settings.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: A cohort of HIV-positive adults with laboratory-confirmed TB from the STAMP TB screening trial (Malawi and South Africa) was used to derive a clinical risk score using multivariable predictive modelling, considering factors at hospital admission (including urine lipoarabinomannan [LAM] detection) thought to be associated with 2-month mortality. Performance was evaluated internally and then externally validated using independent cohorts from 2 other studies (LAM-RCT and a Médecins Sans Frontières [MSF] cohort) from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya. The derivation cohort included 315 patients enrolled from October 2015 and September 2017. Their median age was 36 years (IQR 30-43), 45.4% were female, median CD4 cell count at admission was 76 cells/μl (IQR 23-206), and 80.2% (210/262) of those who knew they were HIV-positive at hospital admission were taking antiretroviral therapy (ART). Two-month mortality was 30% (94/315), and mortality was associated with the following factors included in the score: age 55 years or older, male sex, being ART experienced, having severe anaemia (haemoglobin
CONCLUSIONS: This risk score is capable of identifying patients who could benefit from enhanced clinical care, follow-up, and/or adjunctive interventions, although further prospective validation studies are necessary. Given the scale of HIV/TB morbidity and mortality in African hospitals, better prognostic tools along with interventions could contribute towards global targets to reduce tuberculosis mortality.