Self-transfer and mortality amongst adults lost to follow-up in ART programmes in low and middle-income countries: Systematic review and meta-analysis
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain estimates of adult patients, recorded as lost to follow-up (LTFU) within antiretroviral treatment (ART) programmes, who have self-transferred care, died or truly stopped ART in low- and middle-income countries. METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Science Direct, LILACS, IndMed and AIM databases (2003-2013) and IAS/AIDS conference abstracts (2011-2013) were searched for tracing studies reporting the proportion of traced patients found to have self-transferred, died or stopped ART. These estimates were then combined using random-effects meta-analysis. Risk of bias was assessed through subgroup and sensitivity analyses. RESULTS: 28 studies were eligible for inclusion, reporting true outcomes for 10,806 traced patients attending approximately 258 ART facilities. None were from outside sub-Saharan Africa. 23 studies reported 4.5-54.4% traced LTFU patients self-transferring care, providing a pooled estimate of 18.6% (95% CI 15.8-22.0%). A significant positive association was found between rates of self-transfer and LTFU in the ART cohort. The pooled estimates for unreported deaths was 38.8% (95% CI 30.8-46.8%; 27 studies), and 28.6% (95% CI 21.9-36.0%; 20 studies) for patients stopping ART. A significant decrease in unreported deaths from 50.0% (95% CI 41.5-58.4%) to 30.0% (95% CI 21.1-38.9%) was found comparing study periods before and after 31/12/2007. CONCLUSIONS: Substantial unaccounted for transfers and deaths among patients LTFU confirms that retention and mortality is underestimated where the true outcomes of LTFU patients are not ascertained.
Wilkinson LS, Skordis-Worrall J, Ajose O, Ford N.
- General HIV+ population
- Engagement and Care Cascade
- Retention in care