PURPOSE: To determine the effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy on cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis treated with ganciclovir implants. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was performed of 15 patients with recurrent CMV retinitis treated with the ganciclovir implant and highly active antiretroviral therapy (cases) and 38 patients with recurrent retinitis treated with ganciclovir implants before availability of improved antiretroviral therapy (controls). Progression was defined as occurrence of new lesions in the treated eye or advancement of the retinitis border by more than 750 μm. RESULTS: Cases and controls were statistically similar in age, ethnicity, and duration of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Controls had received intravenous ganciclovir for 9.5 ± 9.5 months vs 3.5 ± 4.6 months in cases (P = .003). The mean (± SE) time to progression of retinitis after implantation of the device was 26.7 ± 2.4 months (95% confidence interval, 22.1 to 31.3) in the cases receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy vs 6.2 ± 0.9 months (95% confidence interval, 4.5 to 7.9) in the controls (P = .001). Multivariate analysis, adjusted for preoperative variables, confirmed a significantly prolonged time to progression in patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (P = .0003). The odds ratio for progression in the cases vs controls was 0.034 (95% confidence interval, 0.003 to 0.350). Cases had higher CD4+ T- lymphocyte counts (P = .004) and longer survival (P < .001) than controls. CONCLUSION: Highly active antiretroviral therapy is associated with improved outcomes in patients with AIDS and recurrent CMV retinitis treated with the ganciclovir implant.
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