Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With HIV

Andreas Knudsen; Ulrik Sloth Kristoffersen; Andreas Kjær; Anne-Mette Lebech


Future Virology. 2012;7(4):413-423. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has substantially decreased mortality among the HIV-infected population. In this setting, cardiovascular disease (CVD) has become a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Compared with the general population, higher rates of myocardial infarction as well as a high prevalence of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis have been found in the HIV-infected population. It has been suggested that in HIV-infected patients, the atherosclerotic burden is not based solely on traditional cardiovascular risk factors. The interplay of other mechanisms such as chronic inflammation, effects of cART or immune activation after initiation of cART may predispose to accelerated and increased risk of CVD. Effective treatment are available today to reduce CVD in at-risk patients, and therefore early detection of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis is important. However, the mechanisms behind the development of CVD in HIV-infected patients may limit the usefulness of the traditional noninvasive screening tools for CVD used in the general population. This review will focus on the different plausible mechanisms behind the increased risk of CVD and the noninvasive methods by which atherosclerosis may be assessed in the HIV-infected population.


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