AIDS dementia complex is a term used in literature to describe the most severe complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection when it comes to the central nervous system (CNS) and is also known as HIV-associated dementia (HAD). Various cognitive, motor and behavioral symptoms are described. The diagnosis can be achieved through an extensive workup and findings from physical examination.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) dementia complex, now more frequently termed HIV- associated dementia (HAD), is the most severe CNS complication of HIV infection  . Despite the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in recent decades and marked success in therapy that led to a reduction in CNS complications, the increased life expectancy of patients suffering from this viral infection has actually increased the rate of HAD according to certain reports   . Failure to comply with therapy is the single most important risk factor, and the clinical presentation is distinguished by the onset of subcortical dementia, due to the fact that aphasia, apraxia and other signs of cortical damage are absent . The clinical hallmarks of AIDS dementia complex is a slowly progressive deceleration in, motor, cognitive and behavioral functions over the course of weeks or months   . In the initial stages, only minor symptoms, such as difficulties performing complex tasks and memory loss, may be observed . Over time, however, more pronounced signs include psychomotor decline, mood changes (depression, apathy, but also mania), anxiety (and even psychosis), reduced capacity to process information, as well as more severe memory, but also language and attention deficits, which are rather common and can significantly impair daily life    . Olfactory senses are also reduced , and notable neurologic symptoms can be paraparesis, spasticity of the lower extremities, less pronounced reflexes, postural tremor, ataxia and gait disturbances  .
Entire Body System
Atevirdine was well tolerated apart from the development of rash, anxiety, intermittent diarrhoea and fatigue. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary results suggest that atevirdine is efficacious in the treatment of ADC. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Typically, CD4 counts below 500-cells/ mL result in early symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, and minor cognitive decline. [microbewiki.kenyon.edu]
While similar lapses can trouble many normal people especially in the face of fatigue or generalized illness, lapses in ADC patients intrude on daily function to a greater degree. [hivinsite.ucsf.edu]
Psychiatric consultation is often indicated, as patients with ADC commonly exhibit agitation, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and other psychiatric manifestations. Mania and psychosis have been described as presenting symptoms or complications of ADC. [emedicine.medscape.com]
(Price & Brew, 1988) Responsibility of the Speech-Language Pathologist As with any dementia, treating individuals with ADC is within the scope of practice for SLPs. [slpsinthesnf.com]
- Wheelchair Bound
Some of these patients may become wheelchair bound with normal or near normal cognition. In others, the myelopathy is combined with cognitive difficulty. [hivinsite.ucsf.edu]
- Feeding Difficulties
Feeding difficulties may develop. In older children and adolescents, the presentation is similar to that of ADC in adults. [emedicine.medscape.com]
- Cognitive Impairment
Although the use of combined or highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) has significantly improved survival rates, cerebral injury and cognitive impairment remain common events. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Patients with AIDS dementia complex (ADC) appear to have an increased likelihood of developing acute onset parkinsonism and dystonia when treated with dopamine antagonists. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Persistent neuroleptic-induced rigidity and dystonia in AIDS dementia complex: a clinico-p J Neurol Sci Apr 28, 1995 Patients with AIDS dementia complex (ADC) appear to have an ... [aidshivresearch.com]
The diagnosis of AIDS dementia complex requires a comprehensive workup, starting with a meticulous patient history that will confirm the presence of an HIV infection and exclude other potential causes of such symptoms (for eg. recent substance abuse, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson's disease, CNS infections or other disorders)  . In addition to the patient interview, the onset and course of symptoms should be assessed with the family of the patient, as they can provide vital information. Compliance with therapy and possible coinfections must be noted as well, after which a thorough physical examination, considered as the essential component of the workup, is performed. The diagnosis of AIDS dementia complex primarily rests on findings obtained during a physical exam, and a full physical and neurologic exam followed by a complete cognitive assessment are imperative    . The HIV dementia scale and other proposed criteria roughly divide patients suffering from HIV-associated dementia (HAD) into 3 categories: HAD with motor symptoms, HAD with either psychosocial or behavioral symptoms and HAD with both motor and behavioral/psychosocial signs   . Regardless of the stage and severity of symptoms, determination of CD4+ T-cell counts is recommended in all HIV+ patients who exhibit such complaints, and HAD is often diagnosed in individuals with a CD4+ T-cell count of < 200/mm3 . A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to detect the viral load of HIV RNA in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (obtained through a lumbar puncture) must be carried out  . Imaging studies are also an important part of the diagnosis of AIDS dementia complex . Computed tomography (CT), but more commonly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can show atrophy of the subcortical, but also cortical structures in the advanced stages of the disease  .
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