AAN 2019—Balance disturbances more common in people with HIV and sensory polyneuropathy


  • Daniel M. Keller, Ph.D
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway

  • Balance disturbances are more common in people living with HIV (PLWH), especially if they have chronic distal sensory polyneuropathy (cDSPN) and/or are older, leading to an increased risk of falls.

Why this matters

  • Identifying PLWH with cDSPN may allow for better treatment planning to prevent balance disturbances, falls, and dependency in functioning.

Key results

  • Balance disturbances were more common in PLWH vs healthy controls (OR=2.7).
  • Among PLWH, balance disturbances were more common with vs without cDSPN (OR=3.3; 95% CI, 2.6-4.3).
  • cDSPN signs were more predictive of balance disturbances compared with symptoms. ≥2 signs, OR=5.45 (95% CI, 4.11-7.11); 1 sign, OR=2.45 (95% CI, 1.82-3.28).
  • Symptoms: pain, OR=1.81 (95% CI, 1.68-1.96); paresthesia, OR=2.23 (95% CI, 2.10-2.48); loss of sensation, OR=2.04 (95% CI, 1.87-2.22).
  • Ataxia (4.3%) was more common with balance disturbances (13%) than without (3%).

Study design

  • Ambulatory adults (n=3379) living with or without HIV underwent neurologic examination to document cDSPN and reported neuropathy symptoms.
  • Participants reported balance problems and falls over the previous 10 years.
  • NIH funding.

Limitations

  • Cross-sectional design does not allow causal determination between polyneuropathy and HIV disease.
  • Ambulatory requirement for participants may miss some polyneuropathy and HIV disease.