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Profile of hematological abnormalities of Indian HIV infected individuals

Byomakesh Dikshit1, Ajay Wanchu1*, Ravinder Kaur Sachdeva1, Aman Sharma1 and Reena Das2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India

2 Departments of Hematology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India

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BMC Blood Disorders 2009, 9:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2326-9-5

Published: 13 August 2009



Hematological abnormalities are a common complication of HIV infection. These abnormalities increase as the disease advances. Bone marrow abnormalities occur in all stages of HIV infection.


Two hundred HIV infected individual were screened for hematological abnormalities from March 2007–March 2008. Absolute CD4 cell count analysis was carried out by flowcytometry. Depending on the results of the primary screening further investigations were performed, like iron studies, hemolytic work up, PNH work up and bone marrow evaluation. Other investigations included coagulation profile, urine analysis, blood culture (bacterial, fungal, mycobacterial), serology for Epstein Barr virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Hepatitis B and C, and Parvo B19 infection.


The most common hematological abnormality was anemia, seen in 65.5% (131/200) patients. Iron deficiency anemia was seen in 49.2% (/200) cases while anemia of chronic disease occurred in 50.7% (/200) cases. Bone marrow evaluation was carried out in 14 patients out of which staging marrow was performed in 2 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and did not show any bone marrow infiltration. In remaining12 cases bone marrow was done for evaluation of pancytopenia. Among patients with pancytopenia 50% (6/12) showed granulomas (4 were positive for AFB, 2 were positive for fungal cryptococci), 25% (3/12) showed hemophagocytosis. There was a strong negative correlation between anemia and CD4 counts in this study. Thrombocytopenia was seen in 7% (14/200) cases and had no significant correlation with CD4 counts. No patient had absolute neutrophil count (ANC) < 800 cells/μL. No case of coagulation abnormalities was found.


Anemia in HIV patients can be a good clinical indicator to predict and access the underlying immune status. Patients should be investigated for hematological manifestations and appropriate steps should be taken to identify and treat the reversible factors.