Utility of a brief computerized battery to assess HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment in a resource-limited setting.

October 5, 2016

Authors: Nirupama Yechoor, Sheri L. Towe, Kevin R. Robertson, Daniel Westreich, Noeline Nakasujja, Christina S. Meade

Journal: Journal of Neurovirology

DOI: 10.1007/s13365-016-0456-1

Year Published: 2016

Despite the persistently high prevalence of neurocognitive impairment in HIV-positive patients, routine HIV care in many resource-limited settings does not include neuropsychological assessment. The objective of this study was to examine the utility of a brief computerized battery for identifying neurocognitive impairment in a busy HIV clinic in Uganda. Specifically, we compared performance on a gold standard neuropsychological exam to that on the CogState Brief Battery. In this cross-sectional study, 181 HIV-positive patients completed both assessment batteries in a randomized order. The primary outcome measures were neurocognitive impairment on the standard exam defined by the global deficit score and cumulative performance on the CogState Brief Battery. Sixty-nine participants (38 %) were classified as impaired on the standard neuropsychological exam, and participants who were classified as impaired performed significantly worse on CogState compared to those who were unimpaired (p < 0.001). CogState had adequate specificity but low sensitivity, suggesting that it may not be a clinically useful screening tool to identify patients who likely have neurocognitive impairment in Uganda. This study supports the feasibility of using a computerized battery for assessing neurocognitive impairment in HIV-positive patients in resource-limited settings, but additional research is needed to identify screening tools with higher sensitivity for use in HIV clinics.

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