Introduction: A bone marrow biopsy is frequently requested in the work-up of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection who present with fever and/or cytopenias in the search for opportunistic infections and malignancies.
Methods: This is a retrospective review of the results of consecutive bone marrow biopsies performed at our institution over a three-year period on HIV-positive patients for the investigation of fever and/or cytopenias. Clinical data, haematological parameters, morphological features, Ziehl-Neelsen staining and microbiological culture results were analysed. The aim of the study was to determine the diagnostic yield of this investigation.
Results: Sixty-three males and 84 female patients were included for analysis. The bone marrow biopsy gave a high diagnostic yield of 47% (70 patients) and a unique diagnosis in 33% (49 patients). Immune thrombocytopenic purpura and disseminated mycobacterial infections were the most common unique diagnoses made (14%, respectively), followed by malignancies (4%). In this cohort, four cases of primary bone marrow involvement by Hodgkin lymphoma and one case of involvement by non-Hodgkin lymphoma were diagnosed.
Conclusion: In our study group, a bone marrow biopsy was a useful investigation with a high diagnostic yield.