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Study Shows Link Between HIV Infection and Coronary Artery Disease

April 1, 2014

This article was reported by Medical Xpress.

Medical Xpress reported on a study of the connection between HIV infection and cardiovascular disease. Lead study author Wendy S. Post, MD, MS -- cardiologist, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and professor of epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health -- and colleagues studied 618 HIV-infected men and 383 uninfected men ages 40-70, who had not undergone surgery to reestablish blood flow to coronary arteries. Participants are part of the ongoing Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study of HIV in homosexual and bisexual men before and after treatment in the Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles areas.

The researchers used coronary computed angiography, a type of computed tomography (CT) scan of the arteries that nourish the heart, to evaluate the men for coronary atherosclerosis. They measured plaque in the heart and arteries and the narrowing of blood vessels (stenosis), and determined whether the plaques causing the narrowing were non-calcified, partly calcified, or calcified. Non-calcified and partly calcified plaques may fall off and cause a clot that could block blood flow to the heart partially or completely.

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The researchers found that HIV-infected men had more plaque than uninfected men and the non-calcified coronary artery plaque was more common and more widespread in HIV-infected participants even after allowing for other coronary artery disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure. Also, HIV-infected participants had coronary artery stenosis greater than 50 percent, which was associated with more advanced HIV and longer use of highly active antiretroviral treatment.

Results indicate the importance of assessing and modifying the cardiovascular risks for HIV-positive men, particularly those with more advanced HIV. The researchers plan to repeat the CT tests to evaluate the progress of the arteriosclerosis and investigate why HIV-infected men have more non-calcified plaque.

The full report, "Associations Between HIV Infection and Subclinical Coronary Atherosclerosis," was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine (2014;160(7):458-467; doi:10.7326/M13-1754).

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

 

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