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Cystoid macular oedema and cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with HIV disease treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy
  1. Nathalie Cassouxa,
  2. Livia Lumbrosoa,
  3. Bahram Bodaghia,
  4. Lydie Zazouna,
  5. Christine Katlamab,
  6. Phuc LeHoanga
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France, bDepartment of Infectious Diseases, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
  1. Professor P LeHoang, Service d’Ophtalmologie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 47–83 boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75651 Paris Cedex 13, France.


BACKGROUND Although cystoid macular oedema (CMO) is a rare cause of visual loss in AIDS related cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, nine cases are reported of CMO occurring in HIV infected patients with a prior diagnosis of CMV who were receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

METHODS Medical and ophthalmological records of nine AIDS patients with inactive CMV retinitis were retrospectively analysed. Ophthalmic examination data, laboratory findings, and the systemic antiviral treatment were studied. Ophthalmic examination included visual acuity, anterior chamber flare measured with the laser flare cell meter (LCFM), vitreous haze quantification according to the Nussenblatt grading system, and fluorescein angiography.

RESULTS Nine HIV infected patients, eight men and one woman, mean age 39 years (range 29–53 years) presented with inactive CMV retinitis and CMO. On fluorescein angiography, CMO was present only in eyes (14 eyes) with signs of previous CMV retinitis. CMV retinitis was inactive in all of them. Visual acuity ranged from 20/200 to 20/30. In 10 eyes with CMV retinitis, anterior chamber flare measured with the LCFM ranged from 18.5 to 82 photons/ms (mean 35.42 ph/ms). A significant vitreous inflammation (1.5+) was observed in eight eyes. All patients had been treated with anti-CMV drugs for a mean period of 18 months (range 12–36 months). All nine patients received HAART with a combination of two nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors and one protease inhibitor for a mean period of 14 months (range 9–18 months). The HIV viral load was below detectable levels (<200 copies/ml) in eight patients and low (3215 copies/ml) in one. At the time of CMO, the median CD4+ lymphocyte count was 232 cells × 106/l (range 99–639).

CONCLUSION In AIDS patients, the usual absence of intraocular inflammation in eyes affected by CMV retinitis has been tentatively explained by the profound cellular immunodeficiency. In these patients, treated with HAART, CD4+ counts were increased for several months (mean 14 months). In their eyes, CMV retinitis was associated with significant ocular inflammation and CMO. These findings could be related to the restoration of immune competence after HAART as recently shown.

  • cystoid macular oedema
  • cytomegalovirus retinitis
  • HIV
  • highly active antiretroviral therapy

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